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THE LIBRARY OF THE
FROM THE LIBRARY OF
MRS. S. WESTRAY BATTLE
BY HER DAUGHTER
MRS. ROBERT S. PICKENS
This book must not
be token from the
TTTTTxrT■ YT^ ^^A l Al l ■^^l■^ ^ 'XT?XTm lSI: t . ^1 . ^v . ^A^^ ■ t . ^l a axg3^^
Tar Heel Tales
H. E. C. Bryant
Stone ^ Barringer Co.
Charlotte, N, C.
aiTi T z rrr T T zrsmg^^ ■ ■j qi s'it'tt t ;^
By stone & BARRINGER CO.
JOSEPH PEARSON CALDWELL
MOST OF THESE STORIES YOU HAVE SEEN,
SOME YOU HAVE PRAISED. WHILE OTHERS,
NEWLY WRIT, YOU HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE
TO SEE ON ACCOUNT OF YOUR UNFORTU-
NATE ILLNESS, BUT, TO YOU, THE PrINCE
OF Tar Heels, I dedicate all, in lov-
ing REMEMBRANCE OF FIFTEEN YEARS
OF INTIMATE ACQUAINTANCE, FAITHFUL
FRIENDSHIP, AND MOST DELIGHTFUL COM-
These tales, concerning all sorts and con-
ditions of people, were written by H. E. C.
Bryant, better known as Red Buck. As staff
correspondent of The Charlotte Observer,
Mr. Bryant visited every comer of North
Carolina, and in his travels over the state
wrote many stories of human interest, de-
picting life and character as he found It.
His first impulse to publish his stories in
book form resulted from an appreciation of
his work by the lamented Harry Myrover,
a very scholarly writer of Fayetteville, who
*' I have been struck frequently at how
the predominant mental characteristic sticks
out in Mr. Bryant. His sense of humor is
as keen as a razor. He sees a farce while
other men are looking at a funeral, and this
exquisite sense of humor Is liable to break
out at any time — even in church. One may
read after him seriously, as he reports the
proceedings of a big event but toward the
last the whole thing Is likely to burst out In
an Irrepressible guffaw, at some very quaint,
funny reflection or criticism, or an Inadver-
slon. All this shows out, too, from the per-
sonal side of the man, making him dellghjt-
ful In talk, and altogether one of the most
entertaining fellows one will meet In many
a day's journey.
*' I really think there Is more Individuality
about his writings, than about those of any
other writer of the state. Every page spar-
kles and bubbles with the humor of the man,
and It Is a clean, wholesome humor, there
being nothing In It to wound, but everything
to cheer and please."
These words honestly spoken by Mr.
Myrover encouraged Mr. Bryant. Red
Buck's dialect stories soon obtained a state
wide reputation, and as Mr. J. P. Caldwell,
the gifted editor of The Charlotte Observer,
truly said: *' His negro dialect stories are
equal to those of Joel Chandler Harris —
His friends will be delighted to know that
he has collected some of the best of his
stones, and that they are presented here.
In North Carolina there is no better known
man than Red Buck. A letter addressed to
" Red Buck, North Carolina," would be de-
livered to H. E. C. Bryant, at Charlotte.
Everybody in the state knows the big hearted,
auburn haired Scotch-Irishman of the Meck-
lenburg colony, who, on leaving college went
to work on The Charlotte Observer and, on
account of his cardinal locks, rosy complexion
and gay and game way, was dubbed " Red
Buck " by the editor, Mr. Caldwell. It was
an office name for a time. Then it became
state property, and the name " Bryant " per-
Red Buck has traveled all over the state
of North Carolina and written human inter-
est stories from every sand-hill and mountain
cove. Many Tar Heels know him by no
other name than Red Buck. In fact there
is a Red Buck fad in the state, which has
resulted in a Red Buck brand of whiskey, a
Red Buck cigar, a Red Buck mule, a Red
Buck pig, and a Red Buck rooster, although
the man for whom they are named drinks
not, neither does he smoke.
This book of Tar Heel tales is from Mr.
Bryant's cleverest work.
Thomas J. Pence.
Washington Press Gallery.
Uncle Bens Last Fox Race I
Forty Acres and a Mule 1 1
The Spaniel and the Cops . . . , . ' ZZ
A Hound of the Old Stock 43
Minerva — The Owl 58
Uncle Derrick in Washington 68
And the Signs Failed Not 79
The Irishman s Game Cock 97
Strange Vision of Arabella 112
A Negro and His Friend 125
Faithful Unto Death 142
" Red Buck '': Where I Came By It , . .153
Until Death Do Us Part 168
Uncle George and the Englishman .... 181
She Didnt Like my Yellow Shoes . . . .191
Afraid of the Frowsy Blonde 199
Jan Pier — The Shoeshine 206
William and Appendicitis 214
ISline Little Tar Heels . . . Frontispiece
Uncle Ben I
Aunt Matt il
Tite, Riding a Democratic Ox .... 27
Marse Lawrence and Trouble .... 43
Uncle Derrick at Home 68
Preparing for the Guest 79
Arabella the Day After 1 12
Jim in a Peaceful Mood 1 25
TAR HEEL TALES
UNCLE BEN'S LAST FOX RACE
CCT^ /f'E an' Marsc Jeems Is all uv de ole
iVl stock dat's lef," said Uncle Ben,
an ex-slave of the Morrow family, of Provi-
" Yes, Miss Lizzie, she's dald, an' ole
Marster, he's gone to jine her. It's des me
an' Marse Jeems, an' he's in furrin parts.
He sole de ole farm, all cep'n' dis here little
spot dat he lef fur me an' Ellen. An' Ellen,
she's dald an' de ole nigger's by hissef.
" Dey ain't no foks lak dem here now.
De times is done changed. Me an' Marse
Wash wuz de big uns here when he wuz
livin*. All dis Ian' an' dese farms belonged
to him. But Marse Jeems he's done come to
be er fine doctor, an' stays in New York.
*' Evybudy's gone an' lef me.
" De horses an' de houns, too, dey're all
" I guess I ain't here fur long, but I sho'
2 Tar Heel Tales
wouF lak to see ole Marster, an^ Miss Lizzie,
an' Sam, an' Cindy, an' Mollie, de bosses, an'
Joe, Jerry, Loud, Dinah, Sing, an' Hannah,
The old darkey was on his death bed. He
spoke in a weak but charming voice. His
mind was wandering, returning to the past.
He had been his old master's hunting com-
panion, his whipper-in, and their black and
tan hounds were famous for speed, casting
ahead at a loss and hard driving. They
could catch a red fox or make him take to
Old Ben was a hunter from his heart.
He loved the running dog, the fast horse and
the chase. The pleasant days of years long
since passed were coming back to him. He
longed for one more run with the old Mor-
row hounds. Those who watched by the
death bed in the little cabin, waiting for the
final summons, listened to Ben's stories of
the past. Dr. Smith had telegraphed for
Dr. James Morrow, the last of his family,
and told him that the old man wanted to see
Uncle Ben's Last Fox Race 3
him and say good-bye. Loyal to the last the
young master was hurrying from the North
to the old home place to be present when the
faithful servant departed this life. He had
asked Dr. Smith to make the last hours as
comfortable as possible and to gratify Uncle
Ben's every wish.
It was almost midnight that October day;
the moon was shining gloriously, the ground
damp from recent rain and the weather
fine for a fox hunt. The scenting conditions
were well-nigh perfect. Dr. Morrow had
just arrived, but old Ben did not know him.
" Yes, sir, Marse Wash, all's ready fur de
hunt,'' said the negro In his delirium.
" Ever thing's right an' ole Hannah's been
clawin' at my do' fur de las' hour. She's
mighty anxious to try dat ole Stinson fiel' fox
dis evnin'. De horses Is done saddled an'
nothin' to do but start.
" Des listen at Sing an' Jerry, dey's powful
anxious to go ! "
It was pathetic to hear the old fellow talk-
ing to his master who had been dead many
years, but he seemed happy. There was no
4 Tar Heel Tales
way to stop him If those there should have
desired to do so.
" Blow yo' horn, boss, an' let Marse Sam
Stitt jine us ef he will. Dat'll do, I hear 'im.
For a time Uncle Ben was quiet. His
lips worked and he seemed to be talking to
himself. But, after a long silence, he lifted
his head from the pillow and exclaimed:
"Listen! Listen, Marse Wash! Hear dat
bark? Dat's ole Sly, Marse Sam's Georgy
dog. She's done slip in dere an' strike er
head uv ole Hannah I
"Listen! Hear her callln'? Marse Wash,
dat Sly looks lak er steppin' dog an' she sho'
is gwlne to give Joe some hard runnin' dis
mornin' ef we jump dat Stinson fox.
" Listen, listen, listen, Marse Wash, I hear
our dogs puttin' in! Dere's ole Sing, ole
Loud and Joe. It's time fur dat fox to walk
erway now, ole Joe ain't in no foolln' way
to-night. He sho' Is ready to run. Listen,
Marse Wash, you hear him callln'."
Uncle Ben dropped back on the pillow, and
rested a few minutes. Everybody In the
Uncle Ben's Last Fox Race J.
room was silent. It seemed only an hour or
so. The old man had run his race and his
time had come.
"Hear dat, Marse Wash? Listen how
dat Georgy lady's slngin' in dere. She an'
ole Joe's neck to neck. Deyer comin' down
thu de Hartls woods now an' 'tain't gwine to
be long till dey make dat fox run. Ef it's
de ole Stinson fox dey'll 'roust him in de Rea
pastur'. Dat's whay he's feedin' dis time er
" Dat's it ! Listen, you hear ole Loud
crossin' dat hill? He's scoutin' now. De
fus' thing you know he'll be right behint dat
rascal. He ain't sayin' much, but he's movin'
" Dat's Joe fallin' In, an' Jerry, an'
" Deyer all crossin' to de pastur. Dat's
whay ole Stinson Fiel' do his eatin' 'bout dis
time. Well, ef he's in dere to-night you'll
hear dem dogs cry out lak dey wuz mad
At irregular Intervals the old darkey would
stop and catch his breath. There was a
6 Tar Heel Tales
smile upon his face and spirit in his voice.
Death came on and he was having his last
fox chase. The old Morrow hounds trailed
the famous Stinson Field fox and were about
to make a jump. Capt. Sam Stitt's dogs
were putting in and the quality of a new
hound would be tested. The contest prom-
ised to be exciting.
" Hear dat Sly, wid dat chop, chop bark,
an* er sort uv er squeal! She's right wid
" Listen, Marse Wash, ole Loud's done
driv him out!
" Des listen how he's shoutin' !
" Dey's gone toads de Big Rock an' dey
sho' is flyin'. Ef it's "de ole fiel' feller he'll
drap erroun' by de Cunnigin place des to let
'em know dat he's up an' doin' an den he'll
come back dis way.
" Whoopee, but ain't dey movin' ! Listen
at ole Joe wid his ' yowl ' holler. He's des
kickin' dust in de faces uv de res' uv dem
'* Yes, sir, he's gone right square to dat
Uncle Ben's Last Fox Race 7
Cunnigin place. It's ole Stinson an' he's
" I des kin hear 'em. Dey's sucklin' 'roun
de ole house now."
There was a break In the story. Uncle
Ben stopped to rest. The dogs had gone out
of his hearing.
" Listen, Marse Wash, dey're comin' back!
Ole Joe's runnin' lak he's skeered. Some
dog mus' be crowdin' him? Yes, sir, It's de
Stinson fox, an' he's comln' dis way. See,
comin' over de hill? Dat's him ! Look how
he's lopin'I He knows dat ole Joe ain't
arter no foolin' dis night.
"See, yonder's de dogs! Dey're travlln'
arter him. Look at dat pale red houn'!
Dat's Sly, an' she's steppin' lak de groun'
wuz hot! She ain't givin' ole Joe time to
open his mouf wide. I knowed some dog
wuz pushin' him.
"Here dey come down to de branch!
Ain't dey movin'? Dey're goin' to de Har-
tls woods, an' on toads Providence church.
But ain't dey flyin' ? I dis kin hear dem I "
8 Tar Heel Tales
As the dogs went out of hearing toward
the east the old hunter lay back and hushed
his tongue. He was running the race that
he had run many times before.
" Listen, Marse Wash, I hear 'em crossin'
de Providence road, comin' back. Dey're
drivin' to kill ole Stinson now. I 'clar' fo'
de Lawd I never heered dat Joe run lak he's
runnin' dis night. He's almos' flyin'.
" But hush, listen, don't you hear dat
' Whoo-ark, whoo-ark, whoo-ark ' in dere?
Dat's Sly, an' she sho' is shovin' dat fox an'
"Hear dat? She's crossin' de big hill
" Dey're tumin' ! He's makin' fur de Big
Rock, but he ain't gut time to make it.
" Listen, Marse Wash, dat Georgy dog's
'bout to outdo ole Joe ! She's comin' lak de
wind. I don't hear ole Joe. He won't bark
ef he gits behind. He mus' be tryin' to head
off dat Sly bitch.
" Look! Yon dey go 'cross de cotton fiel'
an' Joe an' Sly is side to side.
Uncle Ben's Last Fox Race 9
" Whoopee, ain't dey goin' ? Ole Joe sho'
is doin' about, but Sly's on his heels.
" Dey's goin' to ketch dat fox. Git up
Sam an' less see 'em kill him ! Go on I
Come on, Marse Wash! "
For the first time during the night the
old darkey became very much excited and
jumped and surged in the bed. Those near
tried to calm him. But the race was almost
over. Uncle Ben's summons had come. The
angel of death was at the door.
*' Look, Marse Wash, ole Joe's In de lead.
He sees dat fox an' he's done lef Sly. He's
runnln' fur blood.
"See him! Look! Look! Ole Stinson
Fiel's 'bout to git to de thicket! See, he
can't make it ! Joe's grabbin' at him ! Look !
That was all. Uncle Ben was giving up
the ghost. Death came on him. The final
summons had arrived. As old Joe bore
down the fox the faithful servant of the Mor-
row family passed away. As the end drew
nigh Dr. Morrow and Dr. Smith and other
lo Tar Heel Tales
friends who had assembled around the bed
stood near and watched the light go out.
Everything around was still. Death was
The remains were buried in the Morrow
family's private burial grounds. Ben was
the last of the old slave stock. In his de-
lirium he had called back his old master, the
old horses and the old hounds, and died hap-
py in the delusion.
FORTY ACRES AND A MULE
<CTT THAT about your husband and the
VV ' forty acres and the mule,' Aunt
Matt?" asked the ruddy-faced young man
who had just arrived from the city to visit
his father and mother at the old home place
on the farm.
" It's fine weather, Mister Eddie, an' de
cotton an' de corn is des growin' a Inch or
two ever' night," said Matt Tite, a tall, thin-
faced negress of the ante-bellum type, smil-
" Don't evade the question, Matt ; tell these
boys about Tite and the carpet-baggers," In-
sisted the visitor. " Out with it, I want to
hear the story again."
" Chile, ain't you never gwine to fergit
dat? I walked eight miles to git here to see
you, but ef I'd er knowed dat you wuz gwine
to pester me 'bout Tite an' de Ku Kluxes I
sho' wouldn't a come.
12 Tar Heel Tales
" Vs done fergit de pertlclers uv dat story."
" You know enough to make it interesting;
" Titers done fergit de forty acres an' de
mule, an' ef I des wanter have er fight, let me
mention it In his presence.
" You know TIte wuz one uv Marse John
Robinson's niggers 'fo' s'render. Marse
John wuz a powerful big man In dem times
ef he is po' now. He had lots uv Ian' an'
niggers, an' wuz mighty good to his slaves.
Tite wuz a good nigger, an' Marse John
laked him, an' arter de war he stay on at de
ole place an' seem satisfied till dem cearpet-
baggers (dat's what de white folks called
dem) fust come sneakin' around, puttin' de
devil in de niggers' hald, promlsin' all kinds
uv things, an' given dem nuthin' but trou-
" 'Twuz soon arter s'render when me an'
Tite married. I had b'longed to Marse
Jeems Walkup, an' a mighty good man, too,
he wuz. When I marry Tite I move to de
Robinson place to live wid him, an' we all git
'long fine fur a while. Tite he wucked 'bout
Forty Acres and a Mule 13
de farm an' I hep 'roun' de Big House. Ole
Miss Jane done say dat she been wantin' me
fur de longes' sort uv time.
" One night, when me an' Tite start 'way
fum de kitchen, I seed a rabbit cross de road
in front uv us, an' I 'low right den dere wuz
bad luck ahead fur him an' me. Ole Missus
uster say ef a rabbit cross yo' path somefin'
bad woul' sho' happen to you.
" Sho' nuff, chile, hit done come. Bad
times 'gin on dat plantation an' 'roun' dat
neighborhood dat very night. When me an'
Tite git home dar come 'long a strange white
man, lookin' lak er peddler, totin' a police
on his arm. Comin' nigh he say to me an'
Tite, ^ Howdy-do, Miss Robinson an' Mr.
" I look 'roun' to see ef Ole Marses an''
Missus wuz dere, fur I knowed we wuz no
* Miss Robinson ' an' * Mr. Robinson.' But,
bless yo' sole, honey, he wuz talkin' to nobudy
but me an' Tite. I look at de man spicious
lak right den, an' kinder git skeered. He
'gin to talk 'bout sellin' us some specs an'
julery, an' sich lak, but soon he tell Tite dat
14 Tar Heel Tales
he's sont dere fum de Norf to talk 'bout de
comin' 'lection. He 'low dat he's been heer-
in' 'bout TIte, an' tell him dat he's one of de
big niggers uv de country ef he des only
knowed it. Tite he say nuthin' but de white
man des keep on an' on.
" * Yes,' 'low de man, * dey tells me dat
you's one uv de mos' prominent cul'ud gen-
tlemens in dis section uv de country. I knows
dat's so fur you looks smarter dan de res' I's
seed down here ! '
" I seed Tite swell up a little when de man
tell him dat. Niggers' haids des lak white
folks', dey gits mighty big sometime.
" * Well, Mr. Robinson, dere's a better day
comin' fur you an' Miss Robinson,' 'clared de
" * I's des film de Norf, an' come to fetch
you good tidens. By dis time of coase you
knows who yo' frien's is. You had slav'ry;
you's gut freedum. Dat's not all, ef de 'Pub-
likins gits in dis time you's gwine to have
some uv dis Ian'. Yes, you's gwine to have
forty acres uv Ian' an' a mule to wuck it wid.
Forty Acres and a Mule 15
You, TIte Robinson, Is to have de pic' uv de
lot fur you's gut so much sense.'
" Dat man sho' did have a sharp tongue,
an' knowed how to please a nigger. Tite's
eyes git mighty big while he talk 'bout de Ian'
an' de mule. But all de time I wuz lookin'
at dat man an' de way he dress. He look
lak a bad man. Me an' TIte wuz not use to
calls fum white men. No spectable white
person prowled 'bout 'mong de niggers look-
In' dat way. But 't'wuz none uv my bizness
to meddle wid him an' TIte. So I says nuth-
In' an' he goes on wid his putty talk.
" After while he say to TIte : * Come in-
side an' make a light; I's gut some pitchers
to show you an' Miss Robinson.'
" Dat wuz mos' too much fur me, but I
^darsen' cheep. TIte he goes In an' lights de
torch an' de man he opens up his police an'
takes out some pitchers. De fust ones had
niggers wid chains on, an' de overseer wid his
whup. Indeed, sir, dem pitchers had de po'
darkey in a bad place. De man say dat's
de way It wuz in slav'ry time. Den he fotch
1 6 Tar Heel Tales
out some wid Mr. Nigger dressed up In fine
clothes, wid yaller buttons, dis what de nig-
ger laks. Bless me, ef he didn't have one
wid Tite on a big chestnut boss, ridin' 'roun'
de farm. It look so much lak de nigger dat
I des laugh out loud. An' Tite he grin all
over de face.
*' ' Dat's de way Tite's gwine to look after
de 'lection,' said de man. ' Dat's ef de 'Pub-
likins git In.'
*' Chile, dat wuz a powful talkin' man. His
tongue go dis lak it wuz loose at both een's.
When he shet up his police, after givin' Tite
some pitchers to put on de mantel boa'd, he
take de breff fum me by axin' ef he kin stay
all night. Tite wuz so stuck on him dat he
say ' all right.' So he stay, but slip out 'fo'
day nex' mornin'.
" Dat talk an' dem pitchers stir Tite all up.
He's not de same nigger no mo'. De nex'
day he wuz mean to me, * cause he seed fum
de color In my eye dat I lak no sich doln's,
an' he had some words wid Marse John.
'Deed, sir, he wuz des lak er stubborn mule.
Nobudy coul' do nuthin' wid him. I tole him
Forty Acres and a Mule 17
dat he'd better quit foolin' wid po' white
trash, fur you git nuthin' in dis worl' 'cepin'
whut you wuck fur. But Tite he wuz done
gone 'stracted on de forty acres an' de mule.
He des look at hissef on dat big boss an'
" Matt, do you really think Tite believed
he would get the land and mule?"
" Coase he did! " declared the old woman
with considerable spirit.
** De same white man meet Tite an' talk
agin, but dat time I wuz away an' hear nuth-
in' uv It. Tite soon 'gin to talk 'bout callin'
a meetin' uv de niggers. Mo' strange nig-
gers dan I ever seed befo' come dere to
talk wid him, an' dey all act mighty bigity
" Yes, sir, Tite wuz de big nigger in dem
parts. Whatever he said de 'tuther niggers
done. De 'lection come nigher an' Tite gits
mo' triflin' 'bout wuckin' fur de white folks.
Him an' Marse John had a dispute an' Marsc
John knock him down wid a stick. Talkin'
woul' do no good. De crowds uv niggers
kep' gittin' bigger an' bigger an' mo' strange
1 8 Tar Heel Tales
white mens come to see Tite, an' dey all'ers
sneak In at night.
" De white folks lak Marse John and
Marse Jeems Walkup 'gin to git tired uv all
dis foolishness. Dey hold a meetin' dem-
selves, at Marse John's, an' 'scuss how to
keep de cearpet-baggers off uv deyer farms an'
git de niggers back to wuck.
" But, Lawd bless yo' soul, honey, 'bout
dIs time TIte cut de highes' buck uv all an'
have Marse John 'rested an' carried to town
fur hittin' him. Yes, sir, a man wid blue suit
an' brass buttons come an' git Marse John
an' take him to Charlotte 'fo' dat Freedman's
Bureau. You orter heerd de niggers an'
white foks cryin', an' seen 'em takin' on when
de officer driv' off wid Marse John. Ole
Missus took It mighty hard, so she did, an' I
wuz des as mad es I coul' be. I knowed dat
de devil wuz to pay den, fur de white foks
wuzn't gwlne to put up wid no sich es dat.
Deyer day wuz comin' agin."
"Did they put Grandpa in jail?" asked
one of the excited children.
" No, honey, but dey mos' done it. Marse
Forty Acres and a Mule 19
John come back de very nex' day, but he
wuzn't de same man. He done gut mad an'
all de res' uv de white foks wid him. 'Deed,
sir, dey wuz tired foolin' wid dem cearpet-
baggers, an' Marse John make Tite git out
uv his house de fust thing when he come
back, an' to tell de truf I didn't blame him
one bit, fur dat nigger wuz des so mean dat
nobudy coul' git on wid him. Ole Miss Jane
wuz pow'ful sorry fur me but I had to go wid
Tite. We rented a house fum a town man,
an' move in. We wuz back fum de road an'
'way fum de white foks. I never seed sich
a nigger es Tite; every day he wuz wusser
dan de day befo'. Fum 'soclatin' wid dem
cearpet-baggers he gut high up. Dey done
fill his ole kinky haid wid highferlutin' talk
an' idees. Every udder night he wuz at some
nigger mefetin', stayin' till 'fo' day in de mom-
in'. You woul' never know when an' where
dey wuz gwine to meet but dere wuz all'ers
lots uv 'em dere. Sometimes dey'd meet at
my house an' it woul'n't hold 'em all. De
way dem niggers talk when dey meet I des
knowed somefin' bad wuz boun' to happen.
20 Tar Heel Tales
** Now an' den, when Tite wuz off polltl-
cin\ I woul' slip off an' go see Miss Jane, an*
hear whut de white peoples wuz doin'. Den I
beg Tite to let politicin' 'lone an' stay at
home, but, no, sir, he knowed his bizness.
His haid wuz sot on dat forty acres an' de
mule, an' I coul'n't do nuthin' wid him.
" One day Miss Jane read fum de paper
whut de Ku Kluxes wuz doin' to niggers down
in Souf Careliny. You know where 'tis : des
over de line down here 'bout three mile?
De piece say dat dey wuz comin' dis way.
She 'low dat de doin's uv mean niggers wuz
gwine to fetch 'em here.
" An' let me tell you, chilluns, it wuzn't
long 'fo' dey come an' 'putty nigh skeered de
niggers to deaf.
" But, 'fo' dey come Tite done run plum
mad on de subjec' uv de 'lection. I beg him
to stop dat foolin' an' go back to wuck, but
he des go on lak he never heerd me. Why,
honey, de fool nigger done 'gin to think he's
gwine to be Gov'ner. De wust ain't come
yit, fur one day a white man come 'long an'
giv' Tite what he say wuz a deed fur Marse
Forty Acres and a Mule 21
John's mill place. Es he giv' de paper to
Tite he say: ' Mr. Robinson (talkin' to no-
budy but TIte), here's de deed to de mill
place an' you kin have It surveyed as soon as
you laks, fur de 'lection Is mos' here an'
'twon't be long 'fo' you kin git dem forty
acres an' de mule.'
" Tite, he take It an' hide It under a rock.
I seed him lookin' at It, des lak he coul' read,
when he know he don't know B fum bull-
foot. One day, while Tite wuz In Charlotte,
I slip de deed out fum under de log where
he hid It, an' took it over to Miss Jane an'
she say It read lak dis: * Es Samson, lifted
de serpent out uv de wilderness so I lifted
dis po' nigger out uv $5.'
*' Tite done giv' de man $5 fur drawin' de
deed, an' he sho' did think It wuz er deed fur
de mill place, an', 'cordin'ly, he an' another
nigger sneak down one day, while Ole Mars-
ter wuz in Souf Careliny, an' lay off whut
he want an' put up rocks to mark de corners.
Soon after de 'lection Tite an' de yudder nig-
gers uv de Robinson settlement wuz to go to
town an' git de mules an', bein' as Tite wuz
22 Tar Heel Tales
a leader, he wuz gwine to have a fine hoss to
boot. De cearpet-baggers done tell dem dat
dey woul' have several thousan' mules fur de
niggers in de county. 'Fo' dat, one night,
Tite done come in wid a long coat wid shiny
buttons, an' a stovepipe hat. You orter seed
dat nigger how he swell 'roun' 'fo' me, but
de mo' he git fur nuthing de mo' trouble I
seed fur him. I 'spect'd trouble every day.
It des look to me lak de worl' wuz comin' to
de een. All de time Miss Jane kep' tellin'
me 'bout de Kluxes comin' nigher. An',
bless yo' soul, honey, one mornin' all de nig-
gers 'long de big road wuz stirred up 'bout cr
percession dey had seed de night befo'. Dey
say dat de bigges' men dey ever see come
'long ridin' camels lak dey have in de show.
Whutever it wuz didn't make no fuss but
move easy des lak a cat after er rat. De
mens coul' stretch deyer necks way up in de
trees, an' drink a whole bucket uv water at a
" 'Fo' de day passed we heerd 'bout de
same crowd goin' to ole Joe Grier's home
an' takin' him out an' beatin' his back wid
Forty Acres and a Mule 23
a buggy trace. Yes, sir, dey say It wuz a
shame de way dey do dat nigger, but he'd
been medlln' des lak TIte. Dey kotch him
makin' a speech at one uv dem nigger meetings
an' dey bus' his high hat (one lak TIte's) all
to flinders. An' dey say when dey lef derc
dat ole TIte Robinson wuz de nex' nigger
dey woul' git. When TIte hear' dat he git
sorter shaky, but 'low, big lak, dat dey wuz
foolln' wid de wrong nigger. He make out
lak he's gwine to fite.
" Dat very night TIte wuz gwlne to have
a big meetin', de las' 'fo' de 'lection, at Plnc-
ville chuch. It wuz to be de bigges' uv all
but when de niggers hear 'bout de Ku Kluxes
dey gut skittish 'bout gittin' out after dark.
TIte an' de rest uv de ringleaders went but
dey didn't have much uv a crowd. De pews
uv de chuch wuzn't full lak dey had been.
Yes, sir, de audience wuz rather slim fur de
'caslon. But TIte wuz dere In all his glory,
an' de boss dog uv de yard. Howsomever,
when he lef home dat night he wuz sorter
quiet lak. He 'peered to be a little oneasy.
I wuz monstrous anxious 'bout him fur I
24 Xar Heel Tales
knowed de Kluxes wuz In de Ian'. I didn't
want Tite to git hurt but I didn't care much ef
de Kluxes skeered dem fool idees out uv his
haid, so he coul' have some sense once mo'."
" Did they get him, Aunt Matt? " asked a
small boy who had become thoroughly inter-
" Honey, dat's de night de devil broke
loose," said Matt. " I des felt lak somefin'
wuz gwine to drap, an' sho' nuff it did.
*' Soon after Tite lef de house de elements
gut wrong. De clouds gather'd thick an'
hang mighty low in de Wes'. I coul' hear
de thunderin' an' see de lightnin'. I never
seed sich a dark night. But, after de bigges'
rain dat I ever seed fell, de clouds 'clare 'way
an' de moon come out.
" When Tite wuz gone an' de rain wuz
over I went to sleep an' knowed no mo' till I
heerd peoples talkin' an' cussin', an' it soun'
des lak dey wuz outside my do'. It wuz
den after midnight, I spec'. I coul' hear de
low whisperin' voices on fust one side uv de
house, den de tuther. I heerd horses movin'
'bout, an' den I knowed dat It wuz de Ku
Forty Acres and a Mule IJ
Kluxes. I heerd one man say: * Well,
we'll go In here an' see ef de black rascaPs
come yit. But I don't see how he coul' uv
haided us off.'
" 'Bout dat time dere wuz a tap on de do',
an' a call, ' Matt, open de do'. We want to
see If TIte's In dere. We won't hurt you ef
you let us In, an' ef you don't we are comin'
In anyhow. We'll break de do'.'
*' I wuz wide awake but say nuthin'.
"'Matt! Matt! Don't you hear? ' I
coul'n't tell de voice but I knowed ef I didn't
open de do' dey woul' break It down; so I
open It an' git back In bed. When de do'
come open It peered to me lak I seed a whole
lot uv bosses In de road an' lots uv men In
de yard, dressed In red shirts an' had on dese
here false faces. I wuz skeered an' den I
wuzn't, fur de man whut do de talkin' had a
mighty fermllyer lak voice to me, but I des
coul'n't say who's It wuz. Dey peered to
b'lleve me when I told 'em dat TIte wuzn't
dere, but dey searched anyhow to make sar-
" After dey can't find him an' dey start out
26 Tar Heel Tales
de man what spoke befo' say : * Well, Matt,
we give de ole devil a good run, an' would've
swung him up ef we'd ketched him, but it's
late now an' we'd better go.'
" Den I say: ' Please, marster, don't kill
him fur he's des gone crazy 'bout dis here
'lection bizness what dem strange white foks
put in his haid. Don't, boss man, fur my
sake, kill de ole nigger. He'll come right.
I's tried to git him to stay at home. Now
des let me try him one mo' time.' Ax Marse
John Robinson an' Marse Jeems Walkup
'bout Matt. Dey knows me. I's been good
since s'render, an' I's tried to make Tite be-
have hissef. So, Mister, won't you let him
off dis time? '
" De same man what spoke befo' 'low:
* Well, boys, I b'lieve dis is a good nigger,
an' on her 'count we'll let de Parson 'lone fur
a few days an' see. Ef we hear uv any mo'
uv his doin's, 'citin' de niggers an' makin'
speeches, we'll do him des lak we did Ole
Joe Grier, or wuss. Ef he hadn't run lak
er deer t'night, we'd broke his neck. Let's
go back to Souf Careliny, an' res'.'
Titej riding a Democratic Ox.
Forty Acres and a Mule 27
" Dis said, dey rode off. I wuz skeered
dat TIte wuz daid, an' coul'n't sleep no mo'
dat night, but wuz too bad 'frighten' to git
*' Way in de mornin', toge day, when
all gits quiet, I heered a soft knock at de do'.
I knowed it mus' be Tite, so I gits up an'
opens it, an' sho' nuff it wuz him.
" Honey, you woul'n't knowed dat nigger.
He wuz wet an' muddy fum de bottom uv his
feets up. He wuz bare haided an' his clothes
all tore. But, bless yo' soul, chile, he wuz
glad to git home. When I open de do' he
say, * Let me in, ole 'oman, fur I's mos' daid.
De Ku Kluxes is been runnin' me all night.
Don't make no fuss, but lem'me in.'
" Skeered as I wuz when I seed him I had
to laugh. He look' des lak a frizzly chicken
wid de feathers turned de wrong way, an'
wuz des tremblin' lak a leaf. Ever time I
move my foot he jump lak he wuz hit, but
when I tell him what de Kluxes say to me he
'clare, ' Thank Gawd, Matt, ef dat be so I's
yo' nigger so long as I live. You ain't gwine
to kietch me foolin' wid po' white foks an'
28 iTar Heel Tales
politics no mo'. Dis is my las' time. I's
never been so skeered since de Lawd made
" Yes, sir, an' dat wuz his las' meetin', an'
when dem cearpet-baggers come sneakin'
'roun'^ at night he made me drive dem way
des es same as ef dey had pizen. He went
straight to wuck an' fum dat day to dis he's
been quiet on politics.
" But it wuz a long time 'fo' I knowed
what happened at de chuch dat night. Tite
woul'n't never talk 'bout It. Miss Jane
heered all de fac's an' tell me.
" It wuz lak dis. You's been to Pineville
chuch — I mean de col'ud chuch — de one
dat sets on de big hill. At de time when
Tite wuz flyin' so high no white pusson lived
close to de chuch. All de Ian' 'bout dere
wuz in woods. De chuch is gut two do's,
one in de side an' one at de een where de
pulpit Is. It wuz a good thing fur Tite dat
de een do' wuz dere. Dat's all dat saved
" Tite an' his niggers wuz at de chuch dat
night an' had de meetin' gwine at nine. De
Forty Acres and a Mule 29
onlies' lamp In de house wuz on de pulpit.
TIte wuz de fust speaker fur de 'casslon. He
wuz to stir up de niggers fur de 'lection day.
Dem cearpet-baggers done told him what to
" De niggers all holler fur Parson Robin-
son an' TIte step up In de pulpit an' take off
his stovepipe hat, set It on de table, button
up his long coat, an' start off lak dis :
* Gents an' Feller Citizens: Fs come here to-
night to tell you dat de nigger's 'bout to git
what b'longs to 'em. De white foks Is been
, on top long 'nuff. Ef de 'Publlklns wins dIs
time ever nigger in dis house is gwlne to git
forty acres uv de bes' Ian' In dis kermunity
an' a mule to wuck It wid.'
" ' Fur nuthin', Mr. Robinson ? ' 'low' Ole
, Tom Moore.
"*Yes, Mr. Moore, fur nuthin', fur It
b'longs to 'em. Dat's de truf. Fs done
gut de deed fur mine, an' all Fs gut to do Is
to move on after de 'lection, an' go to town
an' git my mule.'
" ' Dat's de truf,' shouted Ole Bill Davis,
a deekin In de chuch.
30 Tar Heel Tales
" ' Tell It to 'em, brother I Come on wid
some mo' lak dat I '
" * Dat's whut we wants to heer,' said dc
" TIte went on : * But on de yudder han',
ef de Demmycrats gits back in power, de las'
one uv you will go bac' in slav'ry. De over-
seer wid his whup will be back. Mark whut
I say fur it's de truf ! '
" ' We know it. Parson, tell it des lak it
" But, bless yo' soul, honey, dis is where
de speakin' wuz out. While Tite wuz soar-
in' high 'mong de clouds, 'bout a dozen great
big mens, wid masses on deyer faces, an' red
shirts on deyer bodies, sprung up des lak fum
de yearth an' march down de middle aisle uv
de chuch an' take seats on de long bench in
front uv de pulpit. Nobudy but Tite say
nuthin', an' he chatter des lak he's crazy.
His voice trem'le so it almos' shake de house.
At fust his tongue mos' stop, but when he
seed de strange men cross deyer legs an' look
up at him, he say dat he's gut nuthin' 'ginst
Forty Acres and a Mule 31
de white foks, an' he seed no use in freedum
" ' Dere wuz a little shufflin' In de back uv
de bulldin'. It wuz Tom Moore, Bill Davis
an' other niggers pilln' out.
" 'Bout dis time come de straw dat broke
de camel's bac'. De big mens uncross deyer
legs, all at one time, an' each one pull out
a long knife an' a whit rock an commence to
sharpen de blades, des lak dey wuz fixin' to
kill hogs. De shinin' steel dumbfounded
TIte. Big draps uv sweat come out on his
haid. When de red shirt mens see how
skeered de po' nigger Is dey soun' deyer
blades on de rocks an' TIte mos' jump out
uv his skin. He fust look at de mens an' den
at de bac' do'. His tongue done stick to de
roof uv his mouf, but he muster up courage
to say: ' I see dat you darkies didn't fetch
no water fur me to drink. I can't speak wid-
out water, so I'll des git a little at de well.'
" Dis said, TIte dash out de back do' wld-
out his hat an' de Ku Kluxes give a wild In-
jln yell an' charge out de side do'.
32 Tar Heel Tales
" But, chile, you can't ketch a skeered nig-
ger, an' it's no use to try. 'Fo' de Kluxes
git started Tite wuz gone.
" Tite never did git de forty acres an' de
mule. Ef he did I never seed it, an' I's been
livin' wid him ever since."
Later, when Grover Cleveland ran for
President, Tite rode in a Democratic pro-
cession, mounted on an ox, and wearing a
THE SPANIEL AND THE COPS
«^/^OME here, Judge," said Col. Tom
V->i Black, the big, blonde policeman, of
the Charlotte force, as a black, sleek, shaggy
water spaniel started across Independence
Square. " You've got no business over there;
Officer Will Pitts, who was by Col. Black's
side at the time, volunteered: "That is an
affectionate pair — Col. Black and Judge —
they like each other; they tramp the same
beat together every night the colonel Is on
" That's no He," put In Col. Black, " that
dog Is as regular as a clock. He comes to
headquarters just before twelve and patrols
with the boys till they go off In the morning.
He has sense like a man; I never saw such an
" Look at that large head, those big, bright
'34 Tar Heel Tales
eyes and that splendid nose! Judge's no
" He's got sense enough to vote for mayor.
That's the gospel truth."
Pitts acquiesced in everything the colonel
said, and moved around like a caged animal
while Judge was being discussed. He is very
fond of the dog.
Judge is a Dr. JekyI and Mr. Hyde dog.
During the day, when all honest beings go
about and care not who observes them and
their manners, Judge plays the part of Dr.
Jekyll, serving as a watchdog for his rightful
master. Dr. George W. Graham, and enliven-
ing the premises by a cheerful bark or warn-
ing growl. All friends of the family are as
welcome to the place as the gentle south
winds of summer, but an enemy is driven out.
Who, that strolls about the town, viewing
the pretty homes, has not seen Judge, trotting
about the Graham yard, at the corner of Sev-
enth and Church streets, switching his bushy
tail and smiling out of his great brownish
mellow eyes at all attractive persons as they
The Spaniel and the Cops 35
That is his best side.
But, at that very moment, Judge is play-
ing the hypocrite, just as well as a deceitful
man would do. All is fair and bright, and
Judge greets you with a hearty shake of the
tail, beaming face and dancing eyes, delighted
to please one and all, knowing that his proud
master is watching him through the window.
If his behavior is excellent, his dinner will be
something out of the ordinary; a rare slice'
of beef, or a bit of cake, and Pussy will not
get all the cream.
Judge comes to just conclusions. He fools
the folks at home seven days in the week,
being a past master at wool-pulling. When
Dr. Graham goes home at night, tired and
depressed from a hard day's work, Judge,
tactful dog that he is, rushes out to meet him.
Such capers he does cut, barking, cutting
somersaults, and jumping around like wild;
his joy unconfined. Dr. Graham tarries for
a few minutes to play with him, and if you
chance to hear the racket, you think that
two gay school children have taken possession
of the lawn. If Judge has an axe to grind
36 Tar Heel Tales
— an extra large cavity In his bread-basket,
or desires to slip away unnoticed earlier than
usual — he romps all the harder, and barks
more boisterously. He Is a shrewd politi-
cian. His love for Dr. Graham is sincere,
but not as Intense as he would make him be-
lieve. He Is not unlike the girl who marries
one fellow for his money while she loves an-
other; Judge prefers Col. Black, Pitts, Ser-
geant Jetton and other members of the police
force to his home people.
For five years he has spent his nights with
the night officers of the city. He knows the
Ins and outs of the police department better
than one or two of the bllly-toters that pass
for policemen. For patrol duty he Is first-
class. He can run with the flying thief, or
jump fences with the light-footed crap-shoot-
er, and Is always handy and willing. If a
call comes for Black Maria, Judge Is the first
to mount the front seat. He likes an excit-
ing race — the faster the better. On raids,
he Is the first to enter the house and the last
to quit it. While the search or Investigation
Is being made, he sits quietly by, a visiting on-
The Spaniel and the Cops 37
looker, interested but not active. If the of-
ficers are compelled to run a foot-race, Judge
takes the lead, and it is a wiry culprit that can
out-distance him. The prisoner securely-
fixed in the wagon. Judge takes his seat in
front, turns his back to the horse, and faces
the unfortunate one. He seems to delight in
bringing offenders to justice, not cruel, but in
full sympathy with the blue-stocking laws of
Once outside of his own yard, Judge as-
sumes a dignified, stiff air, except when play-
ing with his favorite officers. Some people
would say that he is haughty, and at times he
is, but if he turns up his nose at a fellow, that
means that he considers himself superior to
that particular wart on society, and there is
generally a good reason for his contempt.
Dogs do not concern Judge. He pays but
little attention to their friendly advances or
threatening growls. If some vicious cur
snarls and snaps at his heels, he curls his
fuzzy tail over his back and ignores the com-
mon whelp ; while, on the other hand, if some
soft-coated, gentle-mannered, pedigreed dog
38 Tar Heel Tales
tries to make up to him, he goes to Col.
Black, rubs against his legs, looks up into his
face, and declares: "What fools these ca-
nines be I I don't care one whit for any of
From what has already been said, one
might conclude that Judge is a coward.
Well, dear reader, you may disabuse your
mind of that conclusion, for it Is wrong.
Judge is a true North Carolinian — slow to
anger, but fearfully courageous when in trou-
ble. He fears no dog in town. The com-
mon herd like to snap at him from inside a
secure fence, as he trots by in the wake of
Col. Black, but none would dare go near the
open gate. Judge just ignores everything
that keeps its distance. He has frequently
said to the patrolmen something like this:
*' Did you see that contemptuous scamp
charging at me? I would not lower myself
to fight him if he were out. I should like
to sick old Puss on him if he'd call at my
In order to get Judge to do battle, a dog
must assault him. Being an officer of the
The Spaniel and the Cops 39
law, he lives up to the letter. If attacked,
he fights in self-defense. It will be recalled
that he put the little speckled bull-terrier, that
loafed around the Gem Restaurant a few
years ago, clear out of business for good.
Old Speck lingered between life and death
for two days after the affray, and then died
from his wounds. Other dogs have fared as
badly. Judge is slow to take hold, but when
he does, Pitts says it's good night, Isum, for
death will creep over the prostrate form of
the other dog before he can stop the fight.
That is the kind of scrapper Judge is. Like
the man who says little, but hangs on like
I have always heard it said in Providence
that it was well to stay out of a row with the
laughing fighter. Such a one is Judge. He
winks his eyes and grins In the midst of the
Col. Black has one thing against Judge.
As Mr. Hyde he is all right, but as Dr. Jekyl
he is high-headed and arrogant. If Judge
goes up street with any of Dr. Graham's fam-
ily, he refuses to recognize any police officer.
40 Tar Heel Tales
He carries himself far above common people
and soars in an aristocratic atmosphere. If
Col. Black or Mr. Pitts calls to him on the
sly, he lifts his saucy tail a bit higher and
gets closer to his young mistress or master, as
the case may be, as if he feared contamination
of some sort. In other words, Col. Black
and his associates on the police force are
proper company after dark, but not in day-
Judge does not recognize them In a social
way. As conclusive evidence on this point,
I relate the following Incident :
The joke is on Col. Black or Pitts. Col.
Black claims that it is on Pitts, and Pitts that
It is on the colonel.
One day, several years ago, one of these
worthy officers was sent to notify Dr. Gra-
ham that a certain committee, of which he
was a member, would meet that night. The
officer went to Dr. Graham's gate, opened it,
and started to the porch. Judge, the faith-
ful friend of the early morning, rushed
around the house, with bristles raised and
The Spaniel and the Cops 41
teeth shining, growling viciously. The of-
ficer, seeing the threatening attitude of the
dog, stopped, and said: " Why, Judge, don't
you know me?" Instead of making up,
after this, Judge became more determined to
stop the officer. He hurried to the walk-
way, fixed himself, and made ready for a
"Judge! Judge!" said Col. Black or
Pitts, which ever It was. But Judge heard
Dr. Graham, seeing the predicament of the
officer from within the house, came out and
assured Judge that all was well, and he
dropped his tall, and went toward the kitchen,
carrying an ugly case of the sulks, seeming
badly put out because he did not get to bite
At midnight of the same day. Judge joined
Col. Black and Pitts on their rounds, as
bright and cheerful as ever.
The two men reasoned It out after this
fashion : " Well, I guess he Is right. We
are the stuff when It comes to beating around
42 Tar Heel Tales
the city, keeping out burglars and thieves,
but must stay In our places. Judge thought
we were going to make a social call."
Judge grew greater In their estimation.
They cursed him at first, but finally came to
the conclusion that as Mr. Hyde he Is on an
equality with policemen, but as Dr. Jekyl out
of their class.
A HOUND OF THE OLD STOCK
^^TS dem putty fas' houn's, Marse Law-
rence? " asked Uncle Simon Bolick, as
Mr. L. A. Williamson, of Graham, Ala-
mance county, came up with his pack of noted
" Yes, Uncle Simon, they are the best in
the country," was the answer.
*' Yes, sir; I spec' dey is now, since ole
marster's stock 's all died out. But when
Marse Billy wuz livin' he had de steppin'
dogs. Dey wuz de swiftes' in de Ian'. Yo'
daddy'll tell you dat. Dey don't have houn's
lak his'n now. Ef I coul' git some uv de ole
Bolick breed I sho' would git on ole Beck an'
go wid you arter Big Sandy, dat sly ole red
dat uses in de Big Crick woods. But de las'
uv de stock's gone. When Marse Tim lef
here he sont Buck an' Bell, de onlies' ones
livin', to ole man Bob Bolick, his no 'count
44 Tar Heel Tales
uncle, up in de Souf Mountlns. Ole Bob
he never know'd how to care for nothin',
much less er fine houn\ All my fo'ks is lef
dis section. De war broke dem up an' mos'
uv dem's in de fur Wes\ unless dey's all daid.
But ef I had one uv dem old Bolick houn's I
wouF show you how to ketch ole Sandy.
Dat's de gospel truf ! "
The old darkey was in earnest. His mem-
ory carried him back and he lived in days
gone by, and scoffed at the things of the pres-
ent. Life was not as sweet to him as it had
been when he served his owner, Colonel
William Bolick, the famous old farmer-sport
of Piedmont, North Carolina, for then every
day was a holiday. He hunted and traveled
with his master, who kept fine wines, blooded
horses and fast dogs. Truly, those were
glorious days for Simon, and he has never
become reconciled to the prosaic life of free-
dom. The Bolicks were prominent in
North Carolina, and came from a good old
English family. Robert, however, never did
well and, to get rid of him, his father pur-
chased a fertile moijntain valley farm and
A Hound of the Old Stock 45
sent him there to live. That suited him, for
he had no pride and but little ambition.
Colonel William Bolick did well until the
civil war. Like many men of his class and
day, however, he could not change wnth the
times. The freeing of the negroes destroyed
him financially, and he was never able to rally
his fortunes. He died soon, leaving an en-
cumbered estate and a family of boys; the
former was sold and the boys went West.
Old Simon, the aristocratic ex-slave, took
up the burden of life, and went from place to
place doing odd jobs here and there until two
years ago, when he moved to Graham to live
with a daughter who had saved money and
bought a home. There he made the ac-
quaintance of Mr. Williamson, and never
tired of telling him about the Bolick hounds.
A fortunate thing happened for Simon last
fall. He was wrong in his conjecture about
the passing of the Bolick stock. It had not
all perished. The breed had been kept pure
and improved by the sons of Bob Bolick.
Some profitable crosses had been made, and
the Bolick hounds of South Mountain were
46 Tar Heel Tales
even better than the ones formerly owned
by Colonel William Bolick. They had not
been hunted after foxes, but had run deer,
bear, coons and wild cats.
Zeb Bolick, the most promising son of Bob,
heard of the old family negro at Graham.
He found out that the Bolick hound was the
hobby of Uncle Simon, and determined to box
up one of the best young ones in his pack and
send her to the old darkey. Therefore, on
a fine day in October, he shipped Dinah, a
well-built bitch, to Graham, at the same time
sending the following letter to Simon :
*' Simon, I have just sent you a hound of
the old Bolick stock. I heard that you
wanted one. She is untrained for foxes, but
will run anything that leaves a scent. Accept
her as a gift for the sake of by-gone days. I
never saw you, but if you were raised by
Uncle William, you are all right. I have
named the black and tan lady Dinah. She
looks just like old Bell, her great-great-
grandmother, except that she is larger. She
has raced all the flesh off of her bones, but
that is a small matter."
A Hound of the Old Stock 47
Simon Bolick was the happiest negro in
the county. He rejoiced for two reasons;
the promise of the dog made him happy, and
the receipt of the letter, the first one of his
life, pleased him. He told the town of his
good fortune, going from store to store show-
ing his letter. It was like a dream to him,
and he could not realize that the dog was
actually on the way. He ran around until
he was almost prostrate.
For some cause Dinah was two days late
in showing up, and It began to look as If
somebody had been joking the old man.
Simon had described her as a beautiful,
gentle animal, full of life and well-bred look-
ing, but his imagination had been too active.
Hence, when Dinah arrived, the old darkey
was sorely disappointed, for she was skinny,
raw-boned and dirty, her ribs prominent and
her back too sharp. The boys laughed and
jeered as Simon led her along the street.
She seemed half-starved and tried to put her
nose into everything. If she found a morsel
to eat she gulped It down so greedily that
the spectators roared with delight. But
48 Tar Heel Tales
when safely within his own yard, the old
negro made a thorough examination of his
dog, and, after looking her over from nose-
tip to tail, he spoke to himself as follows:
" Dat ain't no bad dog ef I'm a jedge. She's
got de same marks dat de ol' houn's had. I
laks dem thin years, dat hump-back an' dat
long, keen tail. All she needs Is somefin'
to eat an' er little res'. Me an' ole Suckle
'11 fetch her out. By de time de race arter
Big Sandy comes off I'll have her des right,
an' ef I ain't mightily mistaken she's gwlne
to sho' dem yudder dogs de bottom uv her
feets es she flies. Des es soon es she gits
rested, I's gwlne to slip her off down to de
crick an' hear dat mouf. Ef It soun's lak
ole Bell, den I'll bet on her sho' nuff."
The tongue proved right. It was loud,
clear and horn-like and could be distinguished
in any pack. Simon was happy. His cup
of joy was brimful when Mr. Williamson
sent him word that he could join him for a
chase the first good opportunity for a night
hunt. The old darkey could hardly wait —
he was so anxious for the hunt.
A Hound of the Old Stock 49
When the eventful hour came, Simon,
mounted on his trusty mule. Beck, with his
master's old horn on his back, and Dinah
trotting behind, with head and tail down,
overtook the other hunters just out of Gra-
ham, on the Haw River road. The night
was fine, and the ground in first-class condi-
tion. The atmosphere was fresh and sweet,
after a light shower, and the weeds and grass
sufficiently damp to hold a scent. As Simon
rode up, Mr. Williamson remarked:
" Well, old fellow, if Dinah has the proper
stuff in her, and we hit old Sandy, she will
have an opportunity to do her best to-night,
for the weather is ideal.'*
"Yes, sir; dat's so; Mr. Fox'll smell
mighty good arter de little sprinkle. I ain't
sayin' much erbout my dog yit, 'cause she
ain't never run but one or two foxes in her
life, but I feels lak she wuz des gwine to
fall in wid de res' an' do her part."
Some of the mischievous chaps in the party
twitted the old negro about his hound, call-
ing her " skinflint,'* " meat-catcher," " rab-
50 Tar Heel Tales
bit-chaser," and the like, but he laughed and
advised them to wait and see.
The hunters had not gone far when
Trump, a young dog, routed a rabbit,
and drove him flying across the road. Five
or six puppies joined in and hurried old
mollie-cotton-tail to the thicket of a near-by
stream. Soon a turn was made and all came
back. The dogs were close behind Brer
Rabbit, and a new mouth carried the lead.
Uncle Simon, with much joy in his heart,
cried out: "Listen at dat horn-mouf!
Dat's Dinah, an' she's in front ! "
Mr. Williamson was charmed with the
deep bark of Skinny Dinah. It was wrong
to encourage the rabbit hunters, but the boys
could not refrain from galloping ahead to
see the race. Dinah was literally splitting
the wind. She did not tarry or linger, but
picked up the scent here and there and has-
tened on. Simon blew his horn and all of
the culprits, except Dinah, came in; and her
tongue ceased. It was surmised that she had
caught the rabbit and was eating a second
A Hound of the Old Stock 51
supper. Soon she overtook her proud
owner, her mouth blood-stained and her sides
sticking out. The laugh was on the darkey.
Far to the right came the melodious note
of Trouble, the faithful old strike dog. He
had ranged toward Bull Nose Creek and
struck a hot scent. Mark, Mr. Williamson's
colored valet, declared, " Dat's where dey
strikes ole Sandy, an' Trouble knowed where
to hit him I "
The hunters struck a gallop and the dogs
were " barkened " in — Jerry, Jude, Kate,
Sing, Music, Flora, Black Bill, Red Ball,
Trumpet and Flirt. Strive, a big, deep-
mouthed, bob-tailed hound, opened some dis-
tance in front of the rest. He was a fast
trailer, making time and ground by sighting
logs and wet places ahead and hitting here
and there. He had good dog sense and
knew the ways of Reynard, and, under his
leadership, the pack soon had a running trail.
Mark dismounted and examined the track.
" It sho' is ole Sandy, Mr. Lawrence," said
he. " If you don't believe it, come here an'
look." And so it turned out.
52 Tar Heel Tales
The dogs moved across Cedar Hill toward
Holt's Bay and Drowning Creek. The
young hounds, all but Dinah, were chiming
In at the rear. Dinah seemed Interested, but
lazy. However, she kept nibbling at the
track. As the hounds went In on the north
side of Holt's Bay, old Sandy slipped out on
the other side. Red Ball, the famous leader
of the pack, got a live scent of the cunning
fox as he set out, and rushed through the
thicket, bawling as he went, and picked up the
hot track. There was consternation among
the dogs for a moment, but In a jiffy every
last mouth, even that of Dinah, was giving
tongue behind Red Ball.
As was the custom of Sandy, he took a
short round to try the quality of the pack.
He raced three miles and back over level
country, entered the bay where he went out,
dodged through and started for the swamps
of Big Creek, five miles away, to the north.
The hounds were in hot pursuit. Red Ball In
the lead, closely followed by Trumpet, Sing
About every fourth leap Ball would cry,
A Hound of the Old Stock 53
*' Yock! Yocky-yocky yock! " It was sweet
music to the ear. He did not bark often,
but his voice was strong and piercing. Dinah
brought up the rear, but was now thoroughly
aroused, though the rabbit had made her
heavy and slow. Simon was delighted to
see her sticking to it so well and showing
The hunters rode to the top of the hill,
dismounted and waited patiently for the fox
and the dogs to return. It might be an hour,
or it might be four, but Sandy always came
back to Drowning Creek, and the faster the
race the quicker the return.
Mr. Williamson and his companions did
not have to loiter long that night, for within
three-quarters of an hour after the hounds
went out of hearing, Mark, with his keen
ear, heard the tongue of Red Ball. It was
coming back, " Yock ! Yocky-yocky yock ! "
The men hurried to a road crossing to see
the pack as it passed. Dogs had changed
places. Some of the short-winded runners
had dropped out and others fallen back.
But Simon's Dinah had performed the most
'54 Tar Heel Tales
wonderful feat; instead of bringing up the
tail-end, she was pushing Ball. Her tongue
was mingling with his, and the old negro
could not constrain himself. He just had to
yell, and yell he did, at the top of his voice.
" As sho' es de Lawd," he shouted, " she's
one uv de ole stock I "
But it was no time to shout. The dogs
were flying on, and any inopportune whoop
might bother them, so Simon was rebuked by
the captain of the party.
Sandy covered his three-mile circuit again,
and returned to Holt's Bay. By that time
he saw that his life was in danger, for the
hounds were racing him faster than he ever
had to go before. If the gait continued
death would be staring him in the face, so he
determined to put forth his best efforts in a
run to Buck Hill and back, a total of sixteen
miles, but by foiling several miles he would
have ample time to dodge In Holt's Bay.
The dogs were close after him when he left
for Buck Hill, with Red Ball, and Dinah
cheek by jowl. Ball was running wild, while
Dinah seemed to be getting better. To the
A Hound of the Old Stock ^^
west the flying pack went, the tongues of Ball
and Dinah blended in one sound. Simon was
so elated that he could not be still, moving
about like a crazy man.
When the music ceased, Mr. Williamson
turned to Uncle Simon and said, " Old man,
I'll give you fifty dollars for her."
" Marse Lawrence, I needs de money, but
I wouldn't swap dat dog f er yo' cotton mill ;
no sar, dat I wouldn't."
After that there was no sound for more
than two hours, though the hunters listened
with strained ears. Mark was the first to
hear the returning music. He cried:
" Hush ! There they come I Dinah's in
" Yoo-it yoo-it yoo-it I yoo-it I " came the
sound rending the air. Ball had fallen back
ten feet or more. Again the hunters has-
tened to a place where they could view the
dogs. That time they saw the fox. Big
Sandy. He was but thirty yards ahead, with
tail dragging the ground and tongue hanging
His last race was run. The fatal day had
56 Tar Heel Tales
come. But he had pluck to struggle on.
Dinah and her mates came on, tired but
strong. Sandy was pulling for Holt's Bay,
where he could turn and double about, and
worry the dogs. But the sight of the men
and the horses seemed to urge Dinah on.
They gave her courage and she gained on
the fox. As she crossed a hillock In the
edge of the woods and turned down the op-
posite side, she caught a glimpse of Big
Sandy. Her heart beat with joy and she
went forward with renewed vigor. The
other dogs and the hunters were close In her
wake. They had noted the change in her
tongue and knew full well what it meant.
It was a sight race from there to the thicket,
and Dinah had the advantage. Big Sandy
dodged and twisted, but his last moment had
arrived. Dinah pounced on his back just as
he entered the edge of the bay, and it was
Dinah had proved her mettle, and Big
Sandy was dead. Uncle Simon was so happy
that he could not speak. He fell upon his
A Hound of the Old Stock 57
dog and embraced her, while the boys patted
him on the back and rejoiced with him.
Dinah rolled and groaned in the broom sage,
the idol of the hour.
MINERVA — THE OWL
WHEN In Charlotte, I make my home
at 411 North Tryon street, in a pri-
vate family. My hostess, Mrs. Barrlnger,
widow of General Rufus Barringer, owns an
owl of the Asia Accipitrimus or short-eared
species; her name Is Minerva and she is a
very common bird. Hundreds like her dwell
along the wooded streams of Mecklenburg
and adjoining counties. None of them are
beautiful. The one of which I write has
but one redeeming feature. She Is grateful
to her mistress who, alone, has fondled and
petted her. In this she acts well and shows
a trait that but few men have.
Where did this strange, quaint and curious
creature come from? Why did she become
a thing to be domesticated and cared for like
the beautiful little canary or the sweet-
tongued mocking bird? Is she the apple of
any person's eye, or the pride of any home?
Minerva — the Owl 59
To the last question I should say: "No;
she is nobody's darling."
The owner of Minerva was not looking
for her when she came nor did she especially
desire to become the possessor of such a
charge. A friend sent her as a present from
a neighboring town. She had been lifted
from her nest, a tiny, awkward, helpless
birdie, and dropped into our home suddenly.
What was to be done ?
Had she been given her liberty in Char-
lotte, either by night or by day, a violent
death would have been her fate. Hungry
cats were ready to crack her delicate bones,
and the street urchin, with his never-failing
sling shot, or air-rifle, was eager to try his
skill on just such a mark.
Truly, the ugly, dirty, drab-colored little
bird was far from enthusiastic friend or kin-
dred. None of her kind are within several
miles of the town. But if she could have
been taken to the woods and set free she
would have died from starvation and loneli-
ness, for she was young, innocent and inex-
6o Tar Heel Tales
Indeed, she must be fed, housed and cared
for as an object of charity, for, truly, she
lacked lovable characteristics. At first she
had but one friend and that, her owner, and
to her she owes life and what happiness she
For twelve months of her existence, after
she arrived, Minerva lived in a large wire-
screen chicken pen, situated beneath my room
window. It was there that she grew Into
the dignified old lady that she is. The pen
was built and is used for cooping chickens
for the table. At times it was well filled
with a fine lot of hens and then, again,
empty. Minerva watched the dally slaugh-
ter of her strange companions with apparent
concern from the highest perch she could
find. She would not associate with them.
However, she soon discovered that they were
afraid of her. Those direct from the coun-
try, sought the farthest corner from her.
All this she did not understand, for having
seen none of her peculiar family, she must
have felt that she was of the same blood as
her fellow creatures. She tried diligently to
Minerva — the Owl 6i
unravel the mystery. Her thoughts were
along the line of these questions, I Imagine,
from the serious look she always wore upon
her face: "Why do they avoid me? Will
that dreadful tall creature from the kitchen
come and wring my head off like he has done
others? What does it all mean? Have I
but one friend, the sweet old lady who raises
the window every morning and greets
The only trouble Minerva had In her early
captivity was given by Osmond, the son of
her mistress, who set Jack, his fierce bull
terrier, after her. The dog could not get
Inside the enclosure, but w^ould frighten her
Into hysterics by charging against the wire
and barking viciously. Under this excite-
ment she took the only exercise she got, fly-
ing from pole to pole and snapping her bill.
What the bull dog and his master did for
her Minerva did for the timid chickens.
She amused herself daily by chasing them
around. By Instinct an owl captures a fowl
by pushing it off of a perch and catching it
on the wing. Minerva would drop on the
62 Tar Heel Tales
pole by the side of a frightened hen and
shove her off, just to see her squirm and hear
her squall. She kept this sport up for
months. Every time a new chicken was
turned in she would haze her, much to the
delight of those who could watch the game.
But, now, Minerva is too much of a lady
to engage in such youthful pranks. She sits
on her perch and keeps tab on the sons and
daughters of our neighbors. She announces
the time of night that Colonel Willie Harty
comes in and sings a funeral dirge out of
respect for Fritz, the deceased dog of Mr.
John Oates. In her more cheerful moods,
she warbles after this manner: " Toot, oot,
hoot, toot I" "Toot, oot, hoot, toot!!''
That is very owlish and I have found no one
who could translate it into English.
Mrs. Barringer, being a woman of noble
heart, decided, not long ago, to give the bird
her freedom. William, the man servant,
was instructed to turn her out and see that no
enemy harmed her. We all believed that
she would be glad to leave the place for good
at the first opportunity, for she did not seem
Minerva — the Owl 63
to care for or even trust any one but her
mistress, to whom she would go when called
or notice when spoken to. But we had
reckoned wrong. She did not desire to de-
part from us. Her hours are whiled away
in such cozy nooks and corners as she elects
to occupy in the back yard. She Is growing
fat and familiar with mankind and beast.
But, with liberty, protection and free-
lunch, Minerva Is not permitted to be con-
tented and happy. She has a swarm of
unrelenting feathered enemies that make her
life a burden. The blue jay, the red-headed
peckerwood, the harsh catbird, and the cruel
English sparrow are her fiercest foes. They
annoyed her no little while confined in the
chicken pen, by railing at her through the
wire, but now they dare to pluck feathers
from her back and puncture her body with
sharp bills. The mischievous old jay lands
in the morning before the servants come or
the occupants of the house begin to stir, de-
livers an inflammatory speech and urges his
hearers to fight for their rights, their homes,
their wives and their little ones.
64 Tar Heel Tales
It was my fortune, good or bad, to see one
of these crowds assembled, to hear one of the
addresses and witness an onslaught, one fine
Sunday morning, several weeks ago. I had
retired early the night before and slept well.
The first call of Mr. Blue Jay waked me.
I sat up in bed and looked on through the
window blinds. The jay, feigning great in-
dignation, sat in the top of an elm tree, not
ten feet from the window. His voice rang
out loud and shrill through the light morning
air. It was barkened to by all the winged
kind for several blocks. The red-headed
woodpecker quit his hammering on the
steeple of the Lutheran church across the
street, and flew In all haste to join in the
outcry with his rasping voice. The catbird
sailed out from a neighboring fig bush and
came tumbling and screaming across the gar-
den. English sparrows poured in by the
score from all directions until the tree was
alive with their nervous little bodies.
All was consternation and fuss at first,
but soon the jay got the floor and made this
very bitter and Impressive speech : " Fel-
Minerva — the Owl 6$
low creatures: Here we are defied by the
vilest bird that left the ark. She lurks
about and seeks to do murder to you and to
me, to yours and* to mine. Our homes, our
wives and our children are in danger!
What shall we do? Must we stand quietly
by and see our loved ones killed and their
flesh defiled by this designing old night-as-
sassin? I answer: * No ! ' Why, she was
despised and hated by the people of old.
Hear what the Great Book says about her!
When Job's honor was turned into extreme
contempt and his prosperity Into calamity,
he cried: * I am a brother to dragons, and
a companion to owls.'
"Babylon was threatened: * It shall
never be inhabited, etc.
" ' But wild beasts of the desert shall lie
there, and their houses shall be full of dole-
ful creatures ; and owls shall dwell there, and
satyrs shall dance there.'
" Yes, we must slay the detested creature.
She Is an Imposition. I command you to rise
In your might and drive her out of our para-
66 Tar Heel Tales
" The English sparrow will lead the
"Charge! Bite! Scratch! Squall!
Poise the head ! ''
Off they went In a body to wage war on
old Minerva, who had seen the antics and
heard the words of the Indignant meddlers
from her comfortable seat on a wheelbarrow-
handle, just under a thick circle of a grape
vine. It Is useless to say that she was badly
frightened, for she dreaded the sharp beak
and the fury of the courageous little sparrow ;
he was so swift and determined In action
that his onslaughts were to be feared. The
bombastic jay, the timid catbird and the
blatant woodpecker gave her no concern.
The fight was In earnest when William,
the servant, hove In sight. Minerva had
lost several batches of feathers and her back
was sore where the sparrows had billed her.
At the flight of her assailants and the ap-
pearance of William, she chirped: "Toot,
toot, toot! "
This Is a brief sketch of Minerva's life.
Minerva — the Owl 67
She is shunned, despised and distrusted by all
the Charlotte feathered tribe. She is alone
in the world. Her appearance is against her
and she has no accomplishments. She can
neither sing nor dance. Truly she is " the
bird with the hoe.'*
UNCLE DERRICK IN WASHINGTON
IT was the week after Theodore Roosevelt,
President of the United States, had
Booker Washington, a famous negro edu-
cator, at the White House for dinner with
him, and the press of the land had sent the
" Good morning, Uncle Derrick, where
are you off for to-day?" asked Dr. F. L.
Smith of Concord, of his fellow-townsman,
Derrick Alexander, the old colored wood-
chopper, as he trudged along the street.
" I's gwlne to de Big House at Washing-
ton, where de President lives," said the old
" Yes, sir, Fs on my way to see President
"What are you going to see him for?"
inquired Dr. Smith.
" Why, ain't you been readin' in de papers
'bout dem big festerbuls dat Mr. Roseanfelt
Uncle Derrick at Home.
Uncle Derrick In Washington 69
an' his fine lady's been havin' spechully fer dc
niggers? Dat's it, sir! Dere's where
Uncle Derrick's goln'."
The old fellow was in earnest. He wore
his best shoes — a new pair of number four-
teen brogans — a weather-beaten stovepipe
hat and an antiquated suit of livery. In a
bandanna handkerchief, swung over the end
of a stout cane across his shoulder, he carried
a few odds and ends of dress.
" Well, Uncle Derrick, how much money
are you taking with you? Can you go in
good style? ''
" Boss, dat's de weak p'Int 'bout my trip.
De ole nigger's des got ernuff to git to Salis-
bury, but ef he can't fine er frien' dere to hep
him on he'll walk. I's gwine to go ef de
Lawd lets me live. De time dat I's been
waitin' fer Is done come. It sho' is. All
de niggers In my part uv de town Is talkin'
'bout goln'. President Roseanfelt (dat's
what de Dutch folks uv Keebarrus county
calls him) sho' is de frien' uv de nigger.
Think uv it! Niggers wid deyer shinin'
clothes on eatin' wId de rich white folks uv
70 Tar Heel Tales
de Ian' I I ain't got no fine clothes, but ef de
ole nigger kin des git dere he'll be all right;
some good white gem'man frum de Souf will
hand me out er thanky-suit. No, sir, I ain't
'spectin' no trouble arter I git dere fer de ole
nigger's mighty handy 'bout de house. Ef
I can't git in at de fust table I kin at de
" But, Uncle Derrick, they won't let a
cornfield negro go in the White House; it's
high-toned negroes, like Booker Washington
and John Dancy, that attend the receptions
of the President."
" What? Dem yaller niggers! Dey ain't
fitten to go wid de quality. It's de right
black nigger dat's got de 'ristocrat blood in
him. My ole marster uster say dat a light-
skin nigger an' er roan mule wuz de wust
things in de worP.
*' No, sir, I ain't skeered uv no nigger wid
er yaller skin. Ef I des kin git to de Big
House dat's all I ax; I'll do de rest."
Dr. Smith, seeing that Derrick was serious,
furnished him with money to buy a ticket to
Uncle Derrick in Washington 71
Washington and urged him to go forth and
But, a week later, Derrick returned to
Concord, ragged and bruised. His clothes
had been rent in many places and his head
badly wounded. He hobbled up town and
called on Dr. Smith, to whom he told the
story of his visit to Washington, and recited
the fearful tale of woe that follows:
" Marster, I 'clare 'fo' Gawd dat I'll never
leave home ergin while I live. Dere's mo'
good foks in Concord dan anywhere else.
I'll die right here. Dem Washington foks Is
de meanes' people dat I ever seed. De nig-
gers Is bigity an' de white men don't pay no
'tention to you, an' dat's one place de po-
leesmens don't take no draggin' fer dey'll
knock you down fer lookin' mad. I sho'
did think that judgment day had come when
I got dere.
** De trip up dere on de train wuz fust-
class. I seed lots uv fine people on de way.
But no sooner dan I lit on de groun' at
Washington my trouble started.
72 Tar Heel Tales
" I followed de yudder travelers f um dc
train out to de street, where I met a big buck
nigger, wearin' uv a beaver. I know'd dat
he was fixin' to go to de festerbul. He had
on er Jim-swinger coat an' high-top boots.
I step up to him an' say : * Is dis de day
fer de President's big blow-out to de niggers
an' de big white foks ? ' De rascal look me
up an' down an' all over an' ax : * What is
you talkin' 'bout, ole Rube? What do you
know 'bout de President's functions ? ' I
stop right dere fer I seed de kinder nigger I
wuz talkin' to. He was too highferlutin'
fer me, talkin' 'bout functions; when er nig-
ger quits sayin' festerbul it's time to let him
erlone. I axed him de way to de Big House
an' he sed, * Go to de yavenue an' up.' I
say, * What's dat ? ' He answer, ' It's de
bigges' street in de town.'
" I move on till I meet er pleasant lookin'
white gem'man who say dat he's frum Ala-
bam. I knowed dat he wuz uv de bes' stock
In de country, fer he had on good clothes an'
er big wide brim hat, one la'k ole master
useter wear. I pull off my hat an' say,
Uncle Derrick In Washington 73
' Boss, does you live here? ' ' No,' he say,
" I seed dat he wuz all right, so I pop er
few questions to him. * Boss, Is dis de day
uv de festerbul at de Big House fer de culled
peoples an' yudders ? ' Well, sir, he smile
way down to his Adam's apple, des la'k de
question do him good, and say, * Is you think-
in' 'bout 'tendin' one uv de White House to-
" ^ Yes, sir, dat's what I come up here fer;
I lives in Concord, North Carollny, wid
Marse Jim Cannon, Marse John Wadsworth
an' de rest. I sho' do wish dat you'd hep me
git in. I'se des as good as dem yaller nig-
gers dat's been Vlted.'
*' He des chuckle when I tol' him 'bout
my bizness up dere. He reach in his pocket
an' fetch out a ticket wid his name on it an'
when he write, * Let dis nigger in de White
House to de festerbul,' he handed It to me an'
say, * Dat'll git you in.'
" * But, uncle,' he say, * dey don't call de
to-do's festerbuls, la'k dey do down Souf, but
dey is functions an' ceptlons.'
74 Tar Heel Tales
" * Well,' I say, * des so dey have good
things to eat, dat's all dat I care 'bout. We
calls 'em festerbuls.'
*' ' Why,' he 'clare, * dey don't have noth-
in' to eat. You des go up dere an' shake
hands wid de big fo'ks. Dat's all you do.
Dere ain't no eatin' 'bout it.'
" Dat didn't suit dis nigger an' I wuz hot
under de collar, fer Marse John Wadsworth
tolt me, 'fo' I lef dat dey woul' have er 'pos-
sum as big as er sheep an' sweet-taters an'
gravy by de gallun. Dat wuz what I went
fer. I kin shake ban's wid folks at home. I
thought de gem'man wuz tryin' to fool me,
but I didn't tell him so. He look at me an'
laugh, an' den go on 'bout his bizness.
** I go on up de yavenue an' meet all de
fo'ks. I didn't know dat dere wuz so many
people in de worl'. I step in front uv a
nice lookln' man an' ax, * Boss, Is chuch out? '
I seed de crowd an' thought dat wuz de
trouble. But de man hain't answer my ques-
tion yit. He look me in de eye, stick out his
han' to shake wid me, an' say, * Jones Is my
name. What did you say yourn wuz ? '
Uncle Derrick in Washington 75
Dat wuz somefin' else. I wuzn't uster
shakin' wid white fo'ks, but I thought he
might be kin to de President, so I ketched his
han' an' 'clare, ' My name is Derrick Alex-
ander, frum Concord, North Caroliny.'
Well, de bref lef me when he say, * What
kin I do fer you, Mr. Alexander?' Tse
ninety years ole, but dat's de fust time dat er
white man ever calt me * Mister.' I slip
erway fum de man quick fer I knowed dat
he wuz one uv dem Yankees dat ole marster
uster cuss so hard. I went on up de yavenue,
but kep' lookin' back to see ef he wuz arter
me. Frum dat time on it seem to me dat all
de fo'ks dat I see wuz Yankees. Dey la'k
ter driv' me crazy. Dat's de truf.
" Dat wuz de longes' street dat I ever seed,
for it took me er half er day to git to de
Big House yard. I wuz des wile fer all de
niggers dat I seed wuz bigity an' de white
fo'ks wuz mean. De little niggers look at
me an' laugh. Ef I had been back in Con-
cord I'd busted some uv deyer noggin's, but
I wuz skeered to do it up dere. By de time
I got to de Big House gate I wuz mad an'
Tar Heel Talcs
'stractcd. It 'peers dat everybudy wuz ergin
me. As I started to step up In de gate er
man wcarin' cr uneeform an' brass buttons
come out frum behint er bush an' say, sassy
la'k, * Don't come In here, ole man ! DIs's
no place fer niggers ! '
" Well, sir, dat raised my dander. I des
made up my mine to go In dere anyhow. So
I say, * I'm goln' to see de President ef I
have ter lick you.' He grin back at me an
'clare, * Dere's de President now. He an
his boy, goln' fer er ride.'
" I turnt my head an' looked roun' an
sho' 'nuff, dere wuz er man an' er boy ridin
bob-tall horses. I yell out, ' Hello, Mr
President! Dis ole Derrick, frum Concord
He's come to yo' festerbuL' I don't know
why, but dat peered to make him mad an
his upper lip histed up lack er winder shade
an' his lower lip fall down. I 'clare fo' de
Lawd dat I never seed sich a mouf full uv
teef In my life. Dey shine so dat dey look
la'k dem new tombstones In Red Hill grave-
yard. An' he ain't stop at grinnin', fer he say
to de plesman clo§e to me, * 'Rest dat crank
Uncle Derrick in Washington 77
uv er nigger an' lock him up I ' Dat wuz de
las' straw. I des square mysef fer to fight.
But dat's all dat I know den, fer de man wid
de uneeform whack me over de head wid his
billy-stick an' put me ter sleep. Dat's what
made de hole In my fold. As I wuz on de
way to de gard house wid de officer, I hearn
somebudy say, ^ Why, dat's ole Derrick x^lex-
ander. What's he bin doin', Mr. Officer?'
* Tryin' to git to de White House.* ' Well,
des as soon as he gits able to travel I'll send
" I didn't know who it wuz den, but I
hearn later dat it w^uz Congressman Theo.
Kluttz, from Salisbury. I had fetched water
fer him ter drink at er speakin' at Concord
" Dey took me ter de lock-up an' put me
In er Iron cell an' it wuz late In de day 'fo'
I knowed er thing. Den I waked up an'
looked 'round me. I seed niggers In all de
cells, an' mos' uv dem had sore heads. Dey
had been tryin' to git In de White House.
I cried des la'k er chile an' wish dat I wuz
back at Concord wid de people dat I know.
78 Tar Heel Tales
I imagined dat I seed all de good fo'ks here.
" Early de nex' momin' de bossman uv dc
place come to me an' say, ' Ef you'll git outen
dis town des as fas' as you kin hustle, we'll
let you go. A gem'man lef er ticket home
fer you. Take it an' git ! '
" Dat sho' was sweet music to my ears. I
wuz ready to go right den. I went out de do'
an' almos' skip to de depot.
" Thank Gawd dat de ole nigger's back
home ergin. Dat's where he's goin' ter stay.
Dem niggers what want to go to de White
House 'ceptions kin go, but give me my ole
f ryin' pan, cr big fat 'possum, a peck uv taters
an' er pint uv gravy. Dat's what suits dis
nigger. I ain't hankerin' arter shakin' no-
Preparing for the Guest.
AND THE SIGNS FAILED NOT
^^OHHOO, shhoo, shhoo, you good-for-
kJ nothing thing, we don't want any
company to-day," shouted the large, ruddy-
faced lady of the Parks Big House, to a hand-
some, red and black game cock that jumped
upon the walk In front of the porch, flapped
his glossy wings and started to crow.
" Who you reckon's comin' here dis time
uv de week, an' we so busy, Miss Jule?"
asked old Matt Miller, the family servant,
as she came around the corner of the house,
from the kitchen, on her way to the well, car-
rying two water buckets, with her sleeves
rolled to her elbows, showing a pair of lithe,
black arms, well muscled and hard.
" I don't know. Matt, but that rooster per-
sists in crowing in front of the door, and
that Is a mighty good sign that some stranger's
coming for a meal," declared Miss Jule.
So Tar Heel Tales
" Yes'm, an' I'se done drap de dish rag
twice dis mornin' an' dat's er sign dat don't
fail, an' de pusson whut comes is mos' lakly
to be hongry, too.
" Maybe hits de nev/ preacher? "
*' No, Matt, I don't think so, he's never
said anything about coming, and he will go
and see all of the elders and deacons before
he starts around among the common folks.
He hasn't been to see the Graves yet, and
they are pillars in Sharon."
** Humph, Miss Jule, you don't know dese
young preachers lak I doos. Hit ain't de
elders an' de deekins deyer arter so much as
hit's de mens wid de money.
" Leastwise, dat de way hit Is wid our peo-
ple, an' human natur' is 'bout de same whether
de skin's white or black. I knows dis, ef
you hain't gut de spondulicks you don't git de
" Ef hit ain't de rocks hit's de weemens dat
de young preachers Is gut on deyer minds
dese days. Dat sho' is de truf.
" Dat young feller, he's done heered dat
Marse George's gut las' year's cotton in de
And the Signs Failed Not 8 1
shed, dat ain't never been sold, an' he's des
'bout comin' to spend de day."
*' What about our new preacher, Matt, do
you like his looks?" asked the lady of the
house, as she knitted.
*' I ain't seed 'im right good, but I don't
lak de lef eye."
" What's the matter with it? "
" Yo' maw, Miss Nancy, an' she wuz er
pow'ful smart 'oman too, used to say:
* Mat, don't you marry no cock-eye man, ef
you do you'llgit cheated.' "
"And you believe it?"
" 'Cose I do. Look at Marse George, one
uv de bestes' horse traders in dese parts !
Whut do he say ? ' Don't buy no white foot
horse or trade wid er cock-eye man.'
" But, Miss Jule, I ain't sayin' nothin' ergin
yo' preacher. I don't lak to think bad 'bout
de men uv de pulpit, but I ain't gut de faith
dat I used to have. No, chile, de older I
gits de wuss I is."
Matt moved on, leaving her mistress to
think over what she had said.
Mrs. George Parks, although corpulent,
82 Tar Heel Tales
and misshapen, had pretty white hands, neat
and dainty feet and small, aristocratic ankles,
pretty soft, iron-gray hair, and bright, keen
gray eyes. Her every feature bespoke a
warm heart, a gentle and refined nature. As
she sat there that morning, in her own low
rocking chair, knitting away at a cotton sock,
she was a perfect picture of health and hap-
piness. She had put her house in shape for
the day, fed the early biddies just from the
eggshells, looked over her garden and was
resting on the long, cool front porch, over-
spread by the limbs of two magnificent white
After Matt had drawn the water and re-
turned to the kitchen, Charlie, the baby boy
of the Parks home, came running in from the
shop with a hoe in his hand, and dashed up
the steps, intending to go through the house
to the field in the rear, but was halted by his
mother, who said sharply: " Child, don't
bring that hoe in here, it is bad luck to carry
a hoe in a house where one lives."
The boy hurried back down the steps and
around the house.
And the Signs Failed Not 83
The reader may imagine that he Is at this
prosperous country home, in the Piedmont re-
gion of the South, where cotton is king, and
hog and hominy the staff of life, and view the
It Is springtime, a beautiful fair morning
In early June, and the grandfather clock, one
that had been In the family for several gen-
erations, had just struck nine. Mrs. Parks
was at peace with the world. She had helped
to red up the house, to feed the poultry, strain
the fresh milk, churn and put away the but-
ter and written a letter to her oldest son, who
was off at college.
Old Matt, who served as cook, chamber-
maid, milkmaid, dairymaid, and errand run-
ner, was preparing dinner.
*' Have you put on your greens. Matt? "
asked Mrs. Parks, throwing back her head,
and calling over her shoulder.
" Yes'm, long 'go," responded the faithful
" What do you think about killing a
chicken? Do you reckon we'll have com-
84 Tar Heel Tales
" Des as shore, Miss Jule, as I'se llvin';
Pse done drap de dish rag ergin. Ef I wuz
you, I'd be skeered to risk it."
" Well, I think so myself, for George took
butter this morning when he had butter on his
plate, and that is a pretty sure sign. When
the rooster crows in front of the house, and
the cook drops the dish rag three times, and
the head of the family takes butter when he's
got butter, all of the signs point one way.
*' I expect you had better call Charlie and
catch that little red rooster that stays in the
Irish potato patch, back of the garden."
Mrs. Parks continued to knit, and ponder.
Her mind went from one thing to another.
One moment she was thinking of her dear
Tom, who would soon be home from the Uni-
versity, and the next of Ned, who had gone to
Charlotte to get a new mowing machine.
Most of her thoughts were of her children.
Matt and Charlie chased the little red
rooster through Marse George's prize cotton
patch, under the barn and out again, over the
fence, around the carriage house, finally hem-
ming him In a corner and catching him.
And the Signs Failed Not 85
Matt put him in a pie and Charlie went to
carry water to the field hands, in response to
Big John Ardrey's call: "Sonny, sonny,
sonny, ain't you gwine to fetch de ole nigger
no water to-day ? He's so thirsty ! "
The cotton and corn were beginning to
show well in the more fertile fields. Every
available man and woman on the place was
at work, either plowing or hoeing, thinning
the young truck to a stand, and making war
on General Green, the farmer's faithful
enemy. Many fields were green with waving
grain. Here and there wheat was turning
yellow and would soon be ready for the
To the right of the Big House, far out in
the twenty-four acre field, eight plows, drawn
by as many sturdy mules, still thin from hard
spring plowing, breaking lands, and brown
from the first scorching rays of the sun,
manned by lusty negroes, black and glossy
from eating rich Western-grown meat, were
going, running around the cotton, thinned to
86 Tar Heel Tales
" Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy, lawdy,
It's almos' pay day, pay day,
An' I'se gwine to git my honey er hat,"
sang Jerry, a loud-mouthed, animated young
negro, who plowed Kit, a four-year-old mule,
fifteen hands high, and valued by Squire
Parks at one-seventy-five. , There was no me-
ter to his song, but it sounded well to him,
and the neighbors for two miles around could
" Listen, Miss Jule," said Matt, to Mrs.
Parks, who had gone to the kitchen to see
about dinner. " Dat big mouf Jerry can't
" Hear 'im singin' 'bout his honey?
" He rakes 'roun' all night, an' hollers all
day 'bout his honey? He better be givin'
dat Runt somefin', dat chile uv Mary's."
" Is that his child. Matt?"
" 'Cose hit's his'n.
" An' he ain't never as much as give it a
moufful uv nothin' — no, not nary mouf-
f ul I
" De po' little chile des runs 'roun' while
And the Signs Failed Not 87
Mary wuks, des lak It wuz er dog or hog. I
ain't never seed sich neglect. But Mary
can't hep It now; she's gut to wuck fur er
" Well, I didn't know that Runt was
Jerry's child before."
" Yon he is now ! " exclaimed Matt, as she
turned and looked out of the window, toward
the hands, who were hoeing cotton in the Clay
Field, back of the orchard.
" Yes'm, Mary's des hoein' an' wuckin' lak
er dog, an' keepin' dat chile, while Jerry's
spendin' money on dat yaller Rose whut come
here wid dat nigger Rufus, who de pleesmens
tuck back to town an' put on de chain-gang
fur stealln' er cow.
" Po' Runt, he don't git much 'tenshun !
Dey never thought enough uv 'Im to name
'im, an' de foks, seein' how little he wuz,
called 'im ' Runt ' an' ' Runt ' he is. Ef any-
budy wanted him dey coul' steal 'Im an' no-
budy woul' make much fuss 'bout It. Ef It
wuz slavry time ergin, an' Ole Brickhouse Jim
wuz llvin', he'd git 'Im 'fo' Sadday night.
Mary tote's 'im to de fiel' in de mornin' an'
88 Tar Heel Tales
puts Mm down in de shade uv er tree an' lets
'Im stay dere."
This same little negro, four years old, bow-
legged, flat-nosed, onery-looking and dirty,
clad in a single garment, which was torn, and
without buttons to hold it In place, was at
that very moment rambling about In the weeds
In the orchard, far from his mother, who,
with a dozen other hands, were chopping cot-
ton. If a dog or a calf or anything else came
along and toppled him over he cried until he
was exhausted, fell asleep and waked up re-
freshed. No one seemed to love or care for
him ; he weeded his own row.
Taking pity on him, on various and sundry
occasions. Miss Jule had sent Charhe with
buttered biscuits or pieces of pie to the four-
year-old. Although Runt was afraid of
Charlie, who often slipped up behind him,
turned his little shirt over his head and ran,
he was thankful for the hand-outs, without
knowing just where they came from. If he
saw the white boy coming he wanted to hide,
but was afraid to lest he miss a sweet morsel
for his tongue.
And the Signs Failed Not 89
*' Look, Miss Jule, don't it beat all how
boys do? See Charlie teasing dat po' little
nigger," old Matt would say.
*' Charlie ! Charlie ! You little scamp,
you ! Quit worrying that child ! " would fol-
low, and the youngster would laugh and run,
leaving Runt to think it over.
** Shhoo, shhoo, shhoo !
*' There's that old rooster again," said
Mrs. Parks, as she turned and started for the
front porch again.
*' We don't w^ant any company to-day."
" Miss Jule, don't you speck you'd better
spruce up er little, so ef de preacher do come
you'll be ready fur 'im? "
*' I will put on my new dress, I want
George to see it anyhow, and I can take it
off after dinner if nobody comes."
" I speck you better."
After the mistress of the house had resumed
her seat on the porch, having arrayed herself,
in her pretty calico frock. Matt called out:
" Miss Jule, who is dat comin' 'roun' de fieP
on dat big white boss? "
90 Tar Heel Tales
" It looks like Capt. Brown, on old Roy,"
said Mrs. Parks.
" Yes'm, hit do, but he woul'n't be comin'
here fur dinner, 'ceptin' Miss Jane's erway,"
Sure enough. It was Capt. Brown, and he
rode up to the front gate.
" The tip of the day to you, Mrs. Parks ! '*
said the gallant fellow, lifting his hat.
*' Good morning, Capt. Brown ; won't you
" No, thank you; I haven't time."
" You all well ? "
" We're up an' about, but I'm not feeling
well. I have had a pain in my head for sev-
" Listen at Miss Jule," said old Matt to
herself, as she peeped around the honey-
suckle vine, at the end of the porch to catch
what was said. " I ain't never seed her look
better nor puttier."
" How are you all, Capt. Brown? "
*' Just tollerbly well, only; the old woman
Is grunting a little this morning."
" Which way Is the 'Squire? "
And the Signs Failed Not 91
*' He's In the Clay Field, back of the house,
where the hoe hands are at work."
" Have you heard from Mrs. Marler to-
" No, but Sam came by there last night,
late, on his way from the post office, and Reu-
ben told him that she was no better. I guess
she's In a right bad way."
" Yes, poor woman, she's been a great suf-
ferer for a long time. I have been wanting
to go to see her, but the stock Is busy now, and
then, too, I have not felt like riding. I get
dizzy every time I get In a buggy."
" You heard about Mrs. BUI McGregor,
" No ; is it a boy or girl ? "
" A ten-pound boy."
" That's fine ! Five girls and three boys.
" Tell Mollle to come over. She needn't
wait on me. I'm getting too old to travel
" Thank you. You and George come.
" Well, I want to see the old man on a lit-
tle business; I will just ride around there."
Capt. Brown and Squire Parks were the
92 Tar Heel Tales
best of neighbors and friends. Both were
influential in political affairs and substantial
business men. That morning they talked
over a private matter and Capt. Brown turned
and went back.
Dinner time came and no company arrived.
The greens, the chicken and strawberry pies
were all ready, but there was no one outside
of the family circle to eat them.
" I don't believe In your signs, anyhow,"
declared Mr. Parks, " for, this morning, as
I went to the field, a red bird, a pretty one,
flew across the road in front of me, and I
have heard it said that that Is the sign that
you are going to see your sweetheart, dressed
in her best clothes, and I know I haven't seen
any sweetheart to-day."
*' O, yes, you is, Marse George," said
Matt, as she handed him the greens for a sec-
" Here she Is, Miss Jule, de onlles' sweet-
heart dat you ever had."
*' Don't you believe that. Matt," said Mrs.
Parks, fishing for a compliment.
And the Signs Failed Not 93
" I guess you are right, Matt, and she's
got on a new dress," conceded the lord and
master of the Parks Big House.
Dinner and the hour of rest over, the hands
started for the field. Everybody, save Mary,
the mother of Runt, had gone, and she hunted
everywhere for the fatherless waif, but could
not find him. Squire Parks, Miss Jule, and
Matt organized themselves into a searching
party, but hunt where they would they could
not find the little negro. The big bell that
hung on the red oak in front of the lot gate
, was sounded, and all the workmen came in,
knowing that the ringing of it meant a gen-
eral alarm, and were formed into groups and
sent to the fields to look for the missing child.
Aunt Matt took a mirror and reflected the
, sun in the w^ell, thinking that he might have
tumbled in there. Every nook and corner
about the barn and every wash, or gulley, or
weed patch about the place was examined, but
no trace of Runt was found.
" Somebudy done tuck an' stole dat chile,"
said Matt. " Told you so. I knowed dat de
94 Tar Heel Tales
Lawd wuz gwine to let somebudy have 'Im
dat wour care fur 'im.
" Po' little chile, I hope dat nothin' ain't
happen to 'im."
For two hours the hunt continued. Mary
was wailing and shouting like one possessed.
Jerry, the wayward negro of the plantation,
was racing everywhere, looking. When all
had about concluded that the boy had been
kidnaped. Miss Jule, who had become hot and
tired, moving about in the broiling sun, and
returned to the house, discovered a pair of
little black, dirty feet sticking out from un-
der a large hall table and, on making a closer
examination, found that Runt had stolen in,
crawled under the table and gone to sleep
on the floor. Having put a pillow under the
knappy head she notified the hunters and told
Mary to go to her work and leave the child
Matt was very much disappointed, for she
had looked into the well until she believed
that she could see the body of a child on the
bottom, and when Miss Jule called she was
preparing to announce that she had found the
^d the Signs Failed Not 95
little fellow; but, after seeing the feet and
bowlegs, as they protruded from the table,
was convinced that she was wrong.
" Yes, Miss Jule, an* de signs done come
true,'* declared the old darkey. " Dat's de
hongry pusson dat wuz comin*; dat chile des
gut so hongry dat he couln't stand hit no
longer an' come In. Po' little thing."
** I am glad he made himself at home.
Matt, I will adopt him."
" One thing. Miss Jule, I wuz glad to see
dat Jerry lookln' sad-lak 'bout his boy. He
may not be so bad arter all. De Lawd put
good In everybudy."
" Yes, and Jerry and Mary may marry
some day, and make Runt a home ; you can't
tell," added Mrs. Parks.
Runt was treated as a guest of the house.
He slept unmolested for an hour, and when
he waked he was taken to the kitchen and
given the best the larder afforded. For a
month he remained there, waxing fat and
black and strong. Mary was delighted to be
rid of him under the circumstances.
g6 Tar Heel Tales
The rooster had not given the clarion call
One day two weeks later, Miss Jule sent
for Jerry, and they talked on the front steps.
The next day the young negro said to Squire
Parks: "Say, Marse George, I want's you
to marry me an' Mary. I'se done gut de
** Where did you get money to get license,
this time of year?" asked the justice of the
" Miss Jule give it to me."
That was the day the signs failed not.
THE IRISHMAN'S GAME COCK
^ ^A I iHAT was a great day In Providence
X — when Paddy Roark's bird out-
witted Black John Smith's fine cock, the
mighty Jay Bird," said the old gambler.
" That was the end of the world for me.
WeVe had no real sport since that time;
the boys are all good nowadays."
Briefly put, that is the story of the last
gambling bout of a public nature in Provi-
dence township, Mecklenburg county. The
day of the great battle between the fowls of
Roark and Smith marks the beginning of a
Black John Smith, as he was known far
and near, on account of his swarthy complex-
ion, was among the last of his kind in the
Southern states that embrace the Piedmont
region. He and his sort had their day just
after the civil war, when every community in
98 Tar Heel Tales
Dixie was in a state of confusion, and horse
racing, cock fighting, wrestling and fighting
matches were common. Smith was one of
the boys — a jolly, good fellow, who liked
a good time, and if he could not have it one
way he would another. He did not belong
to the Southern aristocracy of the age; his
blood was tainted, but he was a man of fine
sense, never-failing courage, and handsome
appearance. His family record being a little
off color made him a social outcast and his
associates were inferiors. Life to him was
just what he made it, and he lived like a lord.
His home. The Elms, the former residence of
Capt. Jim Davis, the largest slave owner in
the southern section of the county, was the
rendezvous of second-class sportsmen, who
assembled there to drink, revel and try their
Being industrious and a first-rate farmer,
Black John, who never owned land, but rented
the best to be had, always had plenty to eat
and drink around him. His corn bread and
butter milk, pig jowl and kraut, hog and hom-
iny, wine and brandy, all home-made, were of
The Irishman's Game Cock 99
the best In the land, and, liberal to a fault, he
was never without friends.
If any man were out hunting for trouble
for himself, his dog, his rooster, or anything
else, he could find It at The Elms when Black
John Smith flourished there. Rural ath-
letes, bullies, owners of game cocks, and rac-
ing horses met with him on off days for a big
Among those who foregathered at his home
were dissipated landlords of the community,
but, being of a higher social strata, the bet-
ter citizens rarely ever tarried at the Smith
hearth unless they were there on business.
In the early eighties there drifted into
Providence one Paddy Roark, an Irish arti-
san, from where no one ever knew. Paddy
was a unique character and the people of
the good old Presbyterian neighborhood gave
him a cordial welcome. Just such a man was
needed. At all times he was affable and
jolly and made friends everywhere. He was
a handy man — could do any sort of turn.
It was " Paddy do this " and " Paddy do
that." If a farmer needed a painter, a car-
loo Tar Heel Tales
penter, a brick mason, or what not, Paddy-
was the man. Truly, Paddy was '' Dick and
the wheel in any tight place." If the boys
and girls of Providence had a frolic or a dance
he played the fiddle, or picked the banjo, or
sang Irish songs. The good housewives of
the community liked him, for he could make
the kraut, salt the meat, cook fruit for pre-
serves, make persimmon and locust beer, or
take the honey from the bee hive. In fact,
Paddy was an all-round citizen, and so long
as he behaved himself the good people of the
community did not worry about his mysterious
past or the suddenness of his advent into that
bailiwick. Little did they care, the descend-
ants of the signers of the Mecklenburg Decla-
ration of Independence, If he had killed an
Englishman or two In the old country.
Paddy Roark belonged to the social circle
of The Elms. He and Black John Smith
were friends, but the Irishman, being a man
of keen wit and cleverness, did not like the
way the lord of the old Davis place towered
above his fellows. There sprung up a rivalry
between these popular idols. In a clash of
The Irishman's Game CocK loi
Intellects the man from the Emerald Isle out-
shone the native Tar Heel. In a test of
physical strength they were pretty evenly
matched. Paddy was the best boxer, but
Black John could throw him down in a
wrestle. Paddy was the only man In the
Smith set that would challenge the " Chief
of The Elms."
It was on a cold, drizzly day In September
and the boys for several miles around had
assembled under the Smith roof to discuss
plans for the fall and winter. Black John
sat In one corner and Paddy In the other, In
front of a big log fire. There was a lull In
" A rooster Is the gamest thing on earth,"
" I do not admit that without proof," said
" The proof is at hand," declared Smith.
" Jay Bird, my dominecker game. Is In the
yard. He is the champion of the county and
I will back him against the feathered king-
dom. He carries a chip on his shoulder and
challenges the world every time he crows.
102 Tar Heel Talcs
He can crow louder, shriller, oftener and
longer than any chicken in seven states. I
can make him come in here and fight you."
About that time the clarion call of a rooster
"Listen!" shouted Black John. "He
says ' I can lick anything that wears feathers ! '
" I will back him in that declaration."
Smith got up, opened the door and yelled:
" Jay Bird, come here and defend yourself."
Before one could say Jack Robinson twice,
a beautiful game rooster — and there Is noth-
ing prettier — came flying to the house from
the barn. His magnificent head, as keen as
an arrow point, was red with life, and his
alert brown eye sparkled with fire. His spurs
were long and sharp and well set in a pair
of splendid legs. His cold, steady eye gave
him a fierce appearance ; the calm, determined
stare of never-failing courage, was what made
adversaries quail before him.
" Come In, Jay Bird, and get on your mas-
ter's shoulder," was the invitation extended.
Black John was proud of his cock. He
petted and groomed him dally.
The Irishman's Game Cocic 103
*' Jay Bird, they say you can be whipped,'*
said Smith, when the rooster lit upon his
shoulder. " What about it? "
Flapping his wings, lifting his eagle-head,
and crowing. Jay Bird seemed to say: "I
can whip any rooster in the land."
" A game rooster is proud, daring and
fearless if he comes of the right stock," as-
serted Black John. *' Courageous men or
dogs do not fight without an excuse, but the
cock goes forth to hunt a foe. Two games
will meet far from their own barnyards and
fight to the death, when there is no provoca-
tion for a meeting, much less a fight. The
bold, defiant spirit of their blood urges them
on. The one hears the challenge of the
other and accepts by going, running, flying
and crowing, to meet him.
" Jay Bird is a bundle of superb courage,
and I will pit him against any two-legged
*' I accept the challenge," said Paddy.
" Name the time and the place and I will be
on hand with my bird. We shall put up $25
a side if you say so."
104 Tar Heel Tales
This announcement took the breath from
the crowd. The money was put up and the
The acceptance of Black John's challenge
by Paddy Roark was the sensation of the
month. The countryside was surprised and
delighted. Everybody was asking, " And
where did Paddy get a chicken that can stand
up against Jay Bird, the wonder? "
All the answer that Paddy gave was,
** Never you moind, I'll be there at the rolght
tolme, and I will have a folghting cock that
will swape the daeck."
The word was " put out " and traveled
with the wind, crossing out of Providence into
PInevIlle, Morning Star, Sharon and Steele
Creek townships, and Into Union county and
South Carolina. The coming contest was all
the talk, and Paddy Roark the hero of the
hour. If he brought a fowl that could whip
Jay Bird the people of the community stood
ready to give him a vote of thanks. The
older persons of the neighborhood believed
that if Smith could be outdone he might turn
from his evil ways and discontinue the par-
The Irishman's Game Cock 105
ties at his place. All minds were on Paddy,
who was admired, for his consummate nerve,
by men, women and children. The small boy
longed to be a man so that he could model
after Paddy Roark, the Irishman. When
Paddy attended church on Sunday, which he
usually did, the pious communicants turned to
look at him. He who dared accept Black
John Smith's challenge was a mighty man.
The last Saturday in October was the day,
and Bald Knob, near McAlpine's creek, the
place for the meet.
Long before the appointed hour a crowd
began to gather from three counties. Men
came twenty miles to witness the fight.
The woods that surrounded the open field
in which the main was to take place were
alive with horses and mules, and while the
beasts of burden whinnied and brayed their
owners discussed the approaching event.
The mystery that surrounded Paddy Roark
and his fowl had excited the quiet citizens of
Providence as they had not been excited since
the days of the Ku Klux Klan. John Smith,
himself, looked pale and confused. Could
io6 Tar Heel Tales
he have done so gracefully, he would have
crawfished, but it was too late to think of such
a thing. He had to stand to the rack.
Bright and early he was at the right place.
Jay Bird had crowed until he was hoarse.
He knew that something was in the wind and,
from the attention he received, that he was to
play a part. Hundreds of people called at
his cage to see him. He was in fine form
and looked every inch a fighter.
Paddy Roark, who had not been in his
usual haunts for several days, had not shown
up. The friends of Smith were saying that
the Irishman had fluked, but Paddy had back-
ers aplenty, who assured one and all that he
would be on time. Fifteen minutes before
the hour arrived Paddy was not in sight. At
ten of ten a shout broke on the eastern out-
skirts of the mob. Paddy, riding a gray
mule, came galloping over the hill, from to-
wards Matthews, carrying a sack over his
shoulder. As he dismounted from his nag
an outburst of applause greeted him.
It was, " Hurrah, for Paddy Roark, and
his bird I"
The Irishman's Game Cock 107
*' Come on with your critter, whatever It
be," responded the Smithites, " and Jay Bird
will knock the filling out of himl "
At this time the entire hillside was covered
with a surging, wild-eyed human mass, each
person seeking to get where he or she could
see. Above the tumult and the shouting, the
shrill cry of Jay Bird could be heard, assert-
ing, " I can whip any cock in the land."
Roark was literally mobbed by his friends,
who asked : *' Paddy, have you brought your
*' What kind of a beast is he? "
Can he do Jay Bird? "
We're betting on him."
*' Fetch him out, the time is most up."
In the midst of this turmoil and chaos
Paddy Roark was cool, calm and deliberate.
He smoked his pipe, smiled and told the boys
that they might stake all they had on
His mule tied, Paddy started for the bat-
tle-ground with his tow sack on his back; he
would not show his bird to any one, but the
bulk in one corner of the bag was encourag-
io8 Tar Heel Tales
ing. His supporters were cheering and sing-
ing, " We'll hang Jay Bird on a sour apple
As the hour hand moved toward ten the
lord of The Elms and the Irish carpenter
faced each other, the one holding a rooster
and the other, the mouth of a bag.
" Clear out ! Stand back ! Give the gen-
tlemen room ! ** shouted the officer of the
Paddy did not seem to be in any hurry.
No one knew what his bag contained for all
was quiet inside.
" That's the deadest rooster ever," yelled
someone in derision. " He's asleep. Wake
up, birdie, day's breaking! "
Paddy made no reply. He seemed satis-
fied with himself and his ** boird."
" All's ready! " shouted the umpire.
" When I say ' three ' let them go ! "
Paddy took hold of the bottom of the
sack and made ready to empty the contents.
The spectators at this juncture pressed
against the ropes and stood on tiptoe to
see Paddy's bird. When the word was given.
The Irishman's Game Cock 109
Jerry, a large, Muscovy drake, web-footed
and clumsy, dropped Into the arena. The
friends of Paddy were struck speechless, and
the supporters of Jay Bird laughed boister-
ously, treating the affair as a joke, but Jay
Bird, and Jerry were serious, and went to
sparring at each other.
Paddy, too, was In earnest; knowing his
champion he said: "He's all roight, boys.
All hell can't thrip him."
For a moment Jay Bird was disconcerted;
although he had never seen a drake before,
he did his best. He had fought turkeys, pea
fowls and guineas, but not ducks. It was
evident from the outset that Jerry knew what
he was doing. He dodged beautifully and
let the rooster pass over his head. Jay
Bird's spurs would come together above his
back every time. The fighting was not dull.
Those who watched It felt that there were
surprises ahead for the cock. Jerry was bid-
ing his time, and It came by and by. Having
knocked off the wire edge, without as much
as touching the drake, Jay Bird settled down
to a steady lick. That was just what Jerry
flio Tar Heel Tales
had hoped for; then he became more aggres-
sive. Sallying forth, ducking and dodging a
little, he caught his adversary by the back of
the neck. Jay Bird pulled back, but Jerry
did not turn loose until he had kicked him in
the breast and beaten him over the head with
his heavy wings.
The pounding made the rooster furious,
and he flew at his antagonist with more vim
than ever, and that time the aim was accurate,
the blow falling on the drake's head.
It was Jerry's turn to be angry. He
stepped back a step or two and prepared to
meet Jay Bird. The chicken went with a
rush, half running and half flying, and as he
rose to strike, the duck fastened him in the
throat, brought him down and thumped him
The crowd was wild, but the battle had
been so fast and furious and full of surprises
that all looked on in silence, waiting to see the
At this stage of the game the drake did a
wonderful feat. He ran into Jay Bird, took
a firm hold upon his neck, rose and flew, like
The Irishman's Game Cock iii
a hawk. The trick was done so quickly that
the engrossed onlookers did not realize for a
second what had happened. The big duck,
with Jay Bird In his mouth, was going toward
the creek. The crowd whirled about and
hurried after him.
" It's all over now," Paddy cried; " Jerry
will drown Jay Bird In Black John's swim-
When the boys arrived at the edge of the
water, Jerry was catching tadpoles, having
sunk the body of his foe.
Black John Smith never recovered from
the humiliating defeat and death of his roos-
ter. The beginning of the end had come.
STRANGE VISION OF ARABELLA
THE colored people within a radius of
twenty-five miles of Reding Springs
camp ground. Union county, congregate there
once a year, generally in August, after the
crops are laid by, for a big religious revival.
At Reding Springs they are far removed from
white people, and surrounded by forests.
They can camp out, eat, drink, preach and
sing to their hearts' content without molest-
ing anyone. Sometimes the meetings are
brought to sudden conclusions by free-for-all
fights, started by bullies, with rocks, pistols
and razors, but this is an unusual thing for
the good darkies of that section strive to keep
down any unlawful disturbances. Old Satan,
shrewd and alert always, enters the home of
God's people occasionally and makes mis-
chief. So it is at Reding Springs now and
For almost a half century Reding Springs
Arabella the Day After.
Strange Vision of Arabella 113
has been a popular camping place for the ne-
groes of the Sandy Ridge region. They
gather there and remain for weelcs, worship-
ing according to their lights. Thousands of
persons camp there during the meeting.
They make the neighborhood dark with their
presence and resound with their music.
The Reding Springs meetings are not for
the city-bred negro, with his lofty airs and
college training, but for the country negro.
There he feels at home, where he goes once
every twelve months to repent of his sins,
give in his experience and shout until weary.
The religious enthusiast can sing, preach,
pray or participate In any other seemly way
in the services without restrictions. The par-
son reads his text, closes the Bible, and
preaches from memory. He gives out the
hymns line at a time, and leads in the sing-
ing, young and old, saint and sinner joining
to make the welkin ring, no one feeling con-
strained to curb his voice, the more force ap-
plied the better, volume, not quality, being
Dear reader, if you have followed me so
114 Tar Heel Tales
far, don't turn back now, for it is my purpose
to tell you about Arabella Simpkins, the
prophetess of the Reding Springs section.
She was the sage of the community. The
negroes feared her, and their fear was of the
sort that made them want to get closer to
Reding Springs negroes had cause to fear
Arabella. The troubles that she predicted
came true. She had foretold the storm that
swept the harbor away in 1882; the earth-
quake that shook the tents in 1886, and the
bolt of lightning that set fire to the church in
1898. She had seen these in visions and told
of them as she shouted up and down the
aisles of the camp grounds. The people had
learned from experience that the predictions
of Arabella came to pass; she had won the
respect of the leaders, who looked upon her
arrival as an omen for good or bad. She had
never attended a meeting except to deliver
herself of an abiding prophecy. Therefore,
if Arabella appeared on the scene everybody
gave way to her and listened with abated
breath for her prediction, which she gave
Strange Vision of Arabella 115
when the meeting was at Its best, when ex-
citement ran highest. Before the big negress
could perform effectively, the preaching and
singing had to be of such a character that the
hearers cried and wrung their hands. Then,
with the aisles and halls filled with shouting
men and women and crying children, Ara-
bella sallied forth from her seat, humming
softly, walling her eyes and warming up as
It was a hot day In 19 — that I went with
a party of young people to the Reding Springs
camp meeting. We were Invited by some of
the older darkles of Providence. It was said
that Arabella was about due, as she had not
been out In several years, and, hence, a good
time to go.
We arrived early Sunday morning, looked
over the grounds and watched the crowds
gather from the surrounding country. I en-
joyed the preliminaries. I had never seen
so many and such a variety of vehicles. The
majority of the darkles came In wagons, sit-
ting flat on the bottom, using wheat or oat
straw as a cushion, while others rode In an-
Ii6 Tar Heel Tales
tiquated carriages, buggies and two-wheeled
carts, some of which were drawn by oxen.
The outskirts of the grounds were covered
with canvas tents, where those from a dis-
Nothing out of the ordinary happened un-
til ten o'clock, when I saw several old men
and women, those high in the councils of the
church, looking and pointing down the road
toward Twelve-Mile creek. Going near, so
that I could hear, I learned that an old sister
had spied a covered wagon, and, as I ap-
proached, she was saying: *' Dat sho' is
Arabella Simpkins, and her top wagin, fur I
knows dat ole yaller mule."
" Sister Blue," said Parson Honeycutt,
" Tm 'clined to b'lieve dat you is kerrect in yo'
diagnosis uv de case, fur dat looks mighty lak
Miss Simpkins on de front seat."
" I's sho' uv it now," added Sister Blue,
" fur dat's Cassar, her ole man, drivin' ; I
knows his derby hat. Yes, sir, an' dere some-
fin' on Arry's mind. We sho' is gwine to
hear somefin' drap to-day."
And so it proved.
Strange Vision of Arabella 117
Arabella was on the way. She and Caesar
came driving a sorrel mule, whose mane and
tail needed trimming.
A chill passed over the crowd when it be-
came generally known that the notorious Ara-
bella was arriving. There was not a negro
present who would not have given all he
possessed to have been at home. But every
one was too superstitious to run away; that
would have brought bad luck. Therefore,
with a kind of fear that produces confidence
and brings hope the unhappy negroes col-
lected about Arabella and offered their serv-
ices, but with the air of a judge, who had the
power to sentence to prison or death the en-
tire crowd, she refused all proffers of help.
The mule unhitched and tied to a dogwood
sprout she went to the harbor and took a
seat half way down the middle pew. Every
person craned slyly his neck to see her. The
prophetess sat, with her arms folded across
her lap, silent and dignified. Caesar, who
had escorted her in, seemed to be absorbed In
some profound thought. No one went near
ii8 Tar Heel Tales
The older men of the congregation retired
to the amen comer and sat like dummies
waiting for the hour for the sermon to begin.
Everybody was wild with pent-up excite-
ment. There was anxiety in every eye.
Feeling, though suppressed, ran high.
Brother Honeycutt, trembling with emo-
tion, announced that the ten-thirty service
would begin with prayer and asked one and
all to join him in a petition to the Lord for
a successful meeting. He fell upon his knees
and prayed long and earnestly, beseeching
the Maker to stay the hand of the evil one
and save the Reding Springs people from
any great pending calamity. The fervent
ones punctuated and punctured the prayer
with hearty amens. Hymns were sung and
the sermon commenced. At first there was
nothing unusual about the services. They
were like those of all negro meetings held in
rural districts, except that the congregation
seemed unusually quiet. The falling of a pin
upon the floor could have been heard across
The arrival of Arabella had brought or-
Strange Vision of Arabella 119
der. The bravest of the rowdies would not
have dared disturb the tranquillity of that
meeting. A most pious and respectful body
of worshippers it was!
Along toward the latter part of the ser-
mon Parson Honeycutt warmed up to his sub-
ject and spoke with force and feeling, pictur-
ing the scenes of judgment day, when all
would be begging Peter for admittance to the
Holy Land. His story and enthusiasm were
calculated to touch the hardest-hearted sin-
ner. As he moved on, swinging, half speak-
ing and half singing, the audience became
more and more interested. As he swayed to
and fro behind the pulpit his hearers swung
in sympathy. In conclusion he sung:
" De ole time religion is good enough for
It wuz good enough for Paul and Silas,
An' it's good enough for me."
The entire congregation chimed in and sang
with spirit if not understanding.
It was at this juncture that an over-
I20 Tar Heel Talcs
wrought sister, singing and crying at the top
of her voice, " an' it's good enough fer me,"
rushed Into the aisle, clapping her hands, and
The meeting was getting right then for
Elder Brown, a man of piety and reverence,
cried out: *' Dat's It, sister, tell It to 'em! '*
A half-dozen women and two men joined
the first shouter.
" An' It's good enough fer me," yelled the
preacher, slapping his big hands together;
*' come on, brethren an' sistern, an' jine de
moaners ! "
Four-fifths of the congregation kept an eye
on Arabella, knowing that It was only a ques-
tion of time until she would come forward
with a swing and a whoop, and tell what she
The eager throng did not have to wait
long, for Arabella was eager to get out, and
deliver her message. Laying aside her hat
and veil she waltzed out, humming softly,
and sweetly. In a melodious voice, " An' I
seed er vision, er vision, er vision ! "
" I tole you so, honey, an' she's gwine
Strange Vision of Arabella 121
to tell it," shouted Uncle Jerry Howard, one
of the class leaders.
As she rose I got a good look at Arabella,
and I was very much impressed with her mas-
culine features. She weighed about 225
pounds, was large of bone, muscular and
black. She entered the aisle reeling and
" Clar dc way dere," said Parson Honey-
cutt, " an' let Miss Simpkins pass ! "
" It sho' is de same ole Arabella," declared
Class Leader Jones, " an' she's gut trouble
on her mind des as sho' as you's born'd.
" Come on. Sister Simpkins, an' don't keep
us in dis agony! Tell de truf as you see it!
Tell it an' let us prepare fer de wust! "
" Dis mornin'," sang Arabella, " as I wuz
er comin' er long-er de road, I seed er vision,
er vision, er vision."
"Tell it, sister; don't keep back nothin'.
What wuz it you seed? " came from the amen
" Yes, Brer Honeycutt, des as I started, an'
as I wuz comin' down de road-er, I seed er
vision, er vision, er vision ! "
1122 Tar Heel Tales
" Yes, Lawd! Tell It all, sister! What
did you see? "
" An' I looked back-er, an' seed it ergln-
" Come on wid It, sister! Tell It all! ''
" An' ft had-er long tall-er. Yes, Lawd,
an' dat I did-er! "
*' Come on, honey, what wuz It you
By this time everybody else had quit shout-
ing; Arabella had the floor to herself. Every
neck was craned and every ear open to get
what she said.
" An' I look back-er, an' I seed dat It had
er head-er, er head-er, er head-er! "
*^What den, chile?"
"An' er long body-er, body-er, body-er!
An' legs-er, fo' long legs-er. Yes, yes, chil-
lun, an' fo' legs-er! "
While this was going on I could not keep
my eyes off of Parson Honeycutt, the large,
strlklng-looking preacher, who was very su-
perstitious. I was afraid he would go Into
convulsions. His eyes were stretched, his
nostrils distended and his mouth In a quiver.
Strange Vision of Arabella 123
He leaned over the pulpit and listened intently
at Arabella. He was anxious to hear her
prediction. The suspense was telling on his
nerves, and his heart.
" What wuz it, sister? " he cried In his
" An' I look back-er, an' seed dat it had a
long pair years-er," continued Arabella.
The excitement had reached Its zenith.
The tension was greatest, and the crowd could
constrain Itself no longer. The spell was
broken when Elder Brown shouted: "An'
thank Gawd it were a mule-erl "
"Amen! " added the parson.
" Hold me, hold me, hold me, ef you don't
I'll fly away to glory an' leave you all," bel-
" Brother Simpkins, hold yo' wife," cried
Caesar Simpkins rose from his seat and
started toward Arabella, who was prancing up
and down the center aisle, but when she saw
him coming she waved her hand at him and
124 Tar Heel Tales
'* GVay, Caesar, gVay, I don^t want you to
Fs gut sugar an' molasses In my soul,
An' I want's Brer Honeycutt to hold me."
Parson Honeycutt hurried down from the
rostrum, caught Arabella by the right arm,
and they went up the aisle singing ^' Glory
Arabella went Into a trance, fell In Brother
Honeycutt's arms, and was carried out and
laid upon the grass beneath a large oak tree,
where she was permitted to cool off and
" come around."
The sequel : That afternoon, while on his
way home. Brother Honeycutt was thrown
from his roan mule. Napoleon Bonaparte,
who became frightened at a toad hopping
across the road, and had his left forefinger
** I told you so I " said one and all. " Dat
nigger's vision allers comes true."
A NEGRO AND HIS FRIEND
ON a sultry morning In August, nine-
teen hundred and two, an ex-Confed-
erate soldier, who had fought under Lee and
Jackson, hobbled across Independence Square,
bearing heavily upon his cane, on his way to
the Mecklenburg county courthouse. From
the opposite direction came a young fellow,
with ruddy complexion, beaming face and
springy step, en route to the railway station
to take an early train for a neighboring town.
The two, unexpectedly, came together In front
of the Central Hotel and extended their right
hands to each other.
" Why, father," exclaimed the younger
man, " what are you doing here this time of
" Have you driven all the way from home
this morning? "
" Yes, son, I left the farm about daylight,
and just this moment arrived.
126 Tar Heel Tales
" Jim IS in trouble again."
" Another church row ? '*
" Yes; a camp meeting this time."
" Well, father, I think if I were in your
place I would let that negro go to the roads.
The ball and chain might improve him. He
has given you no end of trouble and cost you
some money; let him take his medicine."
*' I don't know about that, Harry; your
mother and I have decided to stand by him
once more. He is a mighty good boy about
the place and we have implicit confidence in
" Yes, but he is forever fighting and get-
ting in court. Let him go I "
*' Well, son, his daddy. Old John, was a
good darkey, and your grandfather would not
like it if we were to let one of his old car-
riage driver's boys go to prison if we could
" I know Jim is pretty bad about fighting
negroes, but he Is a good hand, and we get
on well with him."
" How many negro meetings has he broken
up since you hired him? "
A Negro and His Friend 1127
.'' " I don't know exactly, but would say four
or five. He has a sort of mania for that.
He Is always polite to us and never complains
when asked to do extra work. We call on
him to go errands at all hours of the day or
night, and he goes cheerfully. I do not see
how we could get on without him; he milks
the cows if the cook Is sick, cuts the stove-
wood and carries it in, churns if there Is no-
body else to do it, feeds and curries the horses,
helps your mother to make preserves, or pic-
kles, or put up the fruit, and drives the car-
riage to church on Sunday.
" Yet, Harry if I had not known John and
Mary, his parents, I might let him go without
putting up a fight for him, but his daddy or
mammy would have done anything for your
mother, and your grandfather would turn
over in his grave if he could know that I had
not done my duty toward Jim.
" I don't know how serious this last affair
Is, but I will employ a lawyer and fight It
Harry Brown did not leave the city that
day but remained at home to see If he could
128 Tar Heel Talcs
be of service to his aged and decrepit father.
He went to the jail and had a talk with Jim,
who had been his childhood playmate, and
learned his side of the case.
" Mr. Harry, you think de jedge will make
It putty hard on me?" asked Jim, as the
young white man turned to leave.
" I can't say, Jim, but he Is a strict church
man — a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian — and It
would be difficult to predict the result. If it
Is possible to keep your fighting record out of
court I think we can get him to be merciful,
but If some one lugs your past In, then, with
this Puritanical judge, you may take a tumble
toward the chain-gang."
" Orh, Mr. Harry, you don't think no
white jedge wud send a good nigger lak me
to de roads des fur breakin' up a nigger camp
meetin', do you? "
" Things have changed, Jim. You can't
tell nowadays, since the people have become
so particular about drinking, gambling, and
the like, what a judge will do. I'm a little
uneasy about you."
" Well, Mr. Harry, tell Marse Henry to
A Negro and His Friend 129
Stan' by me des one mo' time, an' den I'll do
better. Ef I gits out dis time I sho' will
Jim Parks was the kind of negro that one
finds about oldtlme Southern country homes:
as black as the ace of spades, with a mouth
full of pretty white teeth, every one as sound
as a silver dollar, and muscular and active.
There were but few things about the farm
that he could not do when he tried. Every-
body, even the other negroes, liked him.
With white people he was mannerly, pleasant
and obliging, always, and those who knew
him at the Brown home, as he went about
his work, could not believe the stories they
heard of his midnight brawls and dark-house
fights at negro gatherings. Usually he was
such a happy-go-lucky chap that his white
friends could not Imagine him in the role of
But Jim Parks at home, among his white
folks, and Jim Parks abroad, with the people
of his own race, were different persons — a
Dr. Jekel and a Mr. Hyde.
At noon, Saturday, the last day of the
130 Tar Heel Tales
Mecklenburg court, Judge Shaler presiding,
Solicitor Bluelaw called the ZIon Camp
Meeting case, and put Rev. Archie Degraffen-
reld LaFayette Small, colored, on the
" Parson," said the prosecuting attorney,
" tell the court what took place at the camp
ground that Sunday."
" Yes, sir; it wuz lak dis: Vd been in de
pulpit about two minutes, gettin' ready to
preach de eight o'clock sermon, when I seed a
commotion in de grounds, about two-hund'd
yards away, an' twuzn't long 'fo' I heard a
pistol crack, an' dere wuz a scatteration of
" Who used the weapon? "
" I heard 'em say it wuz dis here Jim
Parks — dat boy over dere."
" Don't tell what you heard," said CoL
Calvin Tedder, attorney for the defense,
" but what you actually saw."
"Yes, sir; well de moist dat I seed wuz
folks runnin' — gittin' away frum dere."
" Did you hear more than one pistol
shot? " asked the solicitor.
A Negro and His Friend 131
"Yes, sir; some several shots. In fact,
sir, dey come so fas' dat I couldn't give out
de hymn fur hearin' 'em."
*' You were pretty badly frightened, were
you not? "
" 'Cose I wuz, sir, an' I ain't shame to say
it. I felt my legs trimblin', an' I couldn't
keep my eye on de book.
" Yes, sir, de public worship wuz already
disturbed. Ef de shootin' had stopped dere
de law wuz done broke.
" Yes, sir."
" Is this defendant the man who created
the disturbance in the yard? "
"Yes, sir; he's de one, fur I knows him
well. He's de one dat tuck Brother Jones'
"How is that?" asked the court, inter-
" Yes, sir, please yo' honor, it wuz lak dis:
Brother Jones, uv de Sandy Creek kermunity,
focht a load uv watermillons an' wuz sellin'
'em, when dis man Parks come out uv one uv
de tents an' pick out a big millon an' 'low:
* I'll des take dis one wid me.'
132 Tar Heel Tales
" * Not till you give me thirty-five cents,'
says Brother Jones, dis lak dat.
" * Take dat,' said dis boy, pitchin' Brother
Jones a nickel.
" Dat wuz de start uv it, an' one word
brought on another 'till Parks jerked out his
gun an*^ 'fell to shootin'."
*^ Who did he shoot at?"
** Brother Jones."
"What did Jones do?"
" Run, sir. De last time I seed 'im wuz
when he struck de woods 'bout half mile
" It's generally time to run when this ne-
gro gets after you with a revolver, ain't it? "
asked the solicitor.
*' Yes, sir. He's gut de reputation uv be-
in' mighty handy wid his gun."
" What followed? Tell the whole story."
" Well, sir, befo' Brother Jones wuz out
uv sight good, dis Jim Parks come to de arbor
an' saunter down de aisle."
" Did you see him? "
" 'Cose I did; I wuz makin' out lak I wuz
readin' de hymn, but de truf wuz I had my
A Negro and His Friend 133
eye on dat nigger, 'cause I knowed 'Im uv
'' Go ahead; tell what you saw."
" Yes, sir. I know'd dat I couldn't hold
de 'tension uv de crowd arter he 'peared on
de scene, but I wuz gwlne to try to tame 'im.
Brother Smith, one uv my right-hand men,
had done had some 'sperlence wid de boy, an'
he fainted over In de amen corner, fell off
de bench an' rolled under It. When I seed
dat, I wuz sorter confused, fur I wuz lookln'
fur Brother Smith to he'p me out.
" DIs Jim, he come on down de aisle, grln-
nln', until he gut 'bout half way to de pulpit,
an' den he stop an' take out his 'volver, a
black lookln' one, as fur as I kin reckerlec',
an' look at me an' say: * Big Nigger, we
ain't gwlne to have no eight o'clock service
dis mornin'. Church Is out.' "
" What did you say to that, Parson? "
^' Not wantin' to cross 'Im, I 'low : * 'Cose
It Is, 'cose it Is — we ain't gwlne to argify
'bout dat, Brother Parks.' "
" You called him Brother Parks? "
*' Yes, sir, I wuz tryin' to make up to 'im."
134 Tar Heel Tales
"What did he do then?"
*' He take aim at me an' say: * Come on
down, Big Nigger I Come on down! An'
don't be so long 'bout it ! '
*' Seein' dat he wuz meanin' bizness I 'low:
* Yes, Brother Parks, I's comin',' but 'fo' I
coul' git It out he wuz pintin' his gun at
" Go on ! " demanded the solicitor, in an
excited tone of voice.
" I heard de pistol say * click, click.' I
don't know what happened arter dat fur I lef '
dere right den, goin' th'ough de hole at de
back uv de pulpit. As I lef he wuz cockin'
de 'volver but when I heard de 'port I wuz
crossin' Mr. Bob Bell's paster fence several
hund'd yards away."
" Did he shoot directly at you? "
" I can't say as to dat, but as I went over
de fence I heard de ball ajunin' putty close
to my year."
" What became of the congregation? "
" Moist uv it went th'ough de woods des
a little ahead uv me. Yes, sir. I think some
uv de younger ones staid an' fout."
A Negro and His Friend 135
*' That will do, don't tell what you think,"
shouted Col. Tedder.
" Well, dat's all I seed fur I never went
back no mo' 'till nex' day, an' de fightin'
crowd wuz gone."
The essential features of Parson Small's
testimony were corroborated. Several of the
officers of the church gave their versions of
the affair. Everybody seemed to be against
Col. Tedder was afraid to put his client
on the stand lest his court record be produced.
He rested his case after making a short ram-
bling speech. After remaining out three
minutes the jury came In and rendered a ver-
dict of guilty.
Col. Tedder spoke eloquently for mercy
for his negro, saying that he was a good dar-
key, except now and then when he drank a
little too much.
" Stand up here, Jim Parks," said the
judge, when Col. Tedder sat down.
*' What do you mean by disturbing public
136 Xar Heel Tales
" Why do you persist In breaking up camp
*' Don't you know that it is wrong? "
" Yes, sir, Jedge, an' I ain't gwlne to do
it no mo'. Ef you'll des let me off dis time,
so dat I kin go home wid Marse Henry, I'll
be a good nigger de res' uv my life.
" No, sir, Marse Jedge, you needn't worry
'bout dis nigger no mo', 'cause he ain't gwlne
to come back here ef he live a hund'd years."
" That Is very fine talk but you don't mean
it," declared the court. " Nothing short of
the chain-gang will cure you. I will sentence
you — "
" Hold on, boss, ain't you gwlne to let
Marse Henry say a word fur de ole nigger? "
" He's already said that you were all right
except about fighting negroes. The court
must protect all classes of citizens. I will
give you nine months."
" Amen ! " whispered Parson Small.
'Squire Brown dropped his head to keep
from meeting Jim's, tearful eyes, as the boy
marched out to the jail, handcuffed to two
A Negro and His Friend 137
" That was about a: I anticipated," said
Harry to his father, as they left the court-
house. " Jim's reputation hurt him with the
judge. If you had been In Judge Shaler's
place you would have done the same thing."
" Yes, I think you are right, but I don't
like to see the boy go that way. It would
cost close to seventy dollars to get him out;
he owes me something now; I have not the
money to spare, and cannot afford to pay him
more than ten dollars a month if I have him.
*' He will have to go this time."
This was the sorrowful admission of
"I think you are right; let him try the
road awhile," added the less sentimental son.
" Now, good-bye ; if I run upon a respecta-
ble-looking negro that I think would suit you
and mother, I will send him to you."
'Squire Brown collected his packages and
set out for home, a long, lonesome ride
through the country, over seventeen miles of
macadam road, that hot, dusty night. He
needed Jim, and did not like to see him go to
prison, but could not prevent it. The old
138 Tar Heel Tales
place would not seem the same without the
little black negro, with his merry laugh and
" I don't understand why the little rascal
cannot behave/' said the 'Squire to himself, as
his horse jogged along.
That evening, when he drove up to the
lot gate, Mrs. Brown, who had been looking
for him for hours, called out in a strident
voice: "Well, did you bring Jim?'*
" No, I am sorry to say, he went to jail in
spite of all I could do; the judge was preju-
diced against him. He will have to serve
nine months on the chain-gang."
*' That is too bad," said Mrs. Brown.
" Jim is a good darkey."
" Yes," put in the 'Squire, " but he will
break up camp meetings.
" I did all I could, employed a lawyer,
spoke to the solicitor, and swore a half-lie
about Jim's character."
Bright and early Monday, 'Squire Brown
and his son, Harry, met on the Square in
Charlotte, just as they had met two mornings
A Negro and His Friend 139
" I am surprised, Dad, to see you here
again ? '* said die boy, frowning.
" Why, your mother and I, after thinking
the matter over yesterday, decided to take
Jim out; It win cost $65, but I am going to
do It. I have borrowed the money, and will
take the negro home with me."
"You are a good one, father — you and
mother — taking Jim out of jail, but there
Is something about that sort of thing that I
like," said the son, smiling. " Race prob-
lem? Negro haters? Why ask who Is the
negro's friends when Incidents like this occur
every day? "
Harry, who had been traveling In the East
and West for four or five years, did not feel
about the negro as he once did. Being In
constant touch with the old cornfield darkey
'Squire Brown had a different viewpoint.
The kindly feeling that the younger man once
had was passing away.
Late that afternoon, In a cloud of summer
dust, 'Squire Brown and Jim Parks, his negro,
drove out South Tryon street toward Plne-
vUle, and In passing in front of The Observer
140 Tar Heel Tales
building Jim caught sight of Harry, turned
in the buggy and shouted back : *' Good-bye,
Mr. Harry, me an' Marse Henry's gwlne
home to see your Maw. Be a good boy, an'
don't let de jedgc git you. 'Have yo'se'f, an'
stay out uv cote, but ef you do git In, by acci-
dent, des lak I done, don't have Col. Tedder
to 'fend you, onless you spects to go right on
" No wonder the old folks like the black
scamp," said Harry, laughing to himself.
" He's an Interesting negro."
There was great rejoicing on the Brown
place that night when the 'Squire and Jim ar-
rived. Ella, Jim's wife, was beside herself,
and 'Squire and Mrs. Brown were almost as
happy. Everybody, white and black, was de-
The following December, after the cotton,
the corn, the potatoes, and the fruit had been
gathered, Harry visited his parents at the old
place. In driving down the lane he observed
that the little log cabin, formerly occupied by
Jim and Ella, was empty, and when the black
worthy failed to show up to take the horse.
A Negro and His Friend 141
as he had done many times before, he asked
of his father what had become of the negro.
" He's gone to South Carolina," said the
"What did he leave for?"
" Why, he got In a little trouble out at
Jones' Chapel, where the colored people were
having some kind of a church festival, and
the officers were after him."
" He jumped the game, and left you In
" No; I told him to run so that they could
not serve a warrant on him."
" And you a justice of the peace, too? "
" Yes ; I wasn't elected to try my own ne-
"How much does Jim owe you?"
I don't know, exactly."
A pretty good sum, I guess? "
" That sixty-five and a little more for ra-
"Will you ever get it?"
" Oh, yes, if Jim is ever able he will pay
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
THE burial of Uncle Billy Malone, of
Jackson county, by his intimate friends
and boon companions, was one of the stran-
gest funerals ever held in North Carolina, or
anywhere else; it was a clear case of birds of
a feather flocking together even unto the
Everybody in Jackson knew or knew of
Uncle Billy Malone, the blacksmith-horse-
trader; he was one of the few very interesting
characters of the county. His chief end in
life seemed to be a burning desire to satisfy an
unquenchable thirst for strong drink. He
was a confirmed toper, and all of his personal
friends were of the same persuasion.
Uncle Billy and his associates made it a
rule for years to assemble at Washington, the
county seat of Jackson, every off day — every
Saturday, every wet day, every holiday, in
fact, every day they could, and drink the
Faithful Unto Death 143
health of each other, the state and the nation.
It was a jolly lot and Uncle Billy, the dean,
was the oldest of them all; his son Sid, the
youngest, and Col. William LaFayette, the
wisest. The little circle numbered eight, and
It was a close corporation while the cup passed
around. Whiskey was the besetting sin of
each and every one of them, who drank when«
ever he could, and wherever he could.
Col. LaFayette was a tenant farmer — a
typical tenant farmer of a class that lived
in the cotton-producing section of the South
after the civil war. During the days of slav-
ery he served as overseer for small slave-
owning landlords. Most of his kind moved
to the towns of the Piedmont counties of the
Southern States when cotton mills began to
flourish and put their children at work at the
spindle and the loom. The sorrier ones be-
In appearance Col. LaFayette was a freak,
but in manner, a sort of shabby-genteel Ches-
terfield. He was a cadaverous-looking fel-
low, with long body, long legs, and long arms,
and thin, sharp, pointed face. The oldest
144 Tar Heel Tales
citizen of his county did not remember to
have seen him In well-fitting clothes. His
shirt sleeves were too short, and his trousers
never reached the top of his shoes. He ha-
bitually wore a slouch hat, with one side up
and the other down, and went with his shirt
front open and his shoes loosely laced.
Picture him In your mind, trudging his way
to town to join his chums at The Merry Bowl,
Jim Roediger's saloon! Any excuse took
him In, for he was always certain that his
friends, all of whom, save Uncle Billy, were
fellow tillers of the soil, would meet him
there. No particular day was set but the
little band of drinking cronies came together
like iron filings to a magnet. If any one
failed to appear something serious had hap-
pened to prevent his coming. Jim Boggs,
Pete Blue, Sam Helms, Mike Broom and Bob "
Sink belonged to the coterie.
Such were the running mates of Uncle Bill
Malone; all good fellows, and harmless, ex- '
cept to their own constitutions. They stood
In their own light but no one could say aught
against any of them, barring the fact that he
Faithful Unto Death 145
drank to excess, and that was a common com-
plaint at that time. They had lived together
so long, and enjoyed one another's society to
such an extent that, up to the time of Uncle
Billy's death, with the exception of a few
business associations, they shunned the rest of
mankind, not that they were ashamed but that
ordinary men bored them. Their circle was
On a cold — bitter cold — night in De-
cember, 18 — , the angel of death knocked at
the cabin door of Uncle Billy Malone. With-
out warning, and suddenly, the call came.
The old man had not been feeling well for
several days, but he had not complained to his
companions. The facts concerning his last
moments are not known to the outside world.
The curtain is down and no one can say how
Uncle Billy passed from life to eternity. But
the charitable m.ust believe that he was sober
and clothed in his right mind.
The day before the summons came De Ate,
as the party was known, foregathered at The
Merry Bowl and drank until late. Sid and
his father got home just before dark. The
1^6 Tar Heel Tales
next morning, when the son went to arouse
his father, he found his body cold In death.
But, let us turn to the funeral!
Sid Malone behaved like a child in the
presence of death. The very thought of be-
ing alone and face to face with a dead kins-
man seemed to unnerve him. There was but
one definite idea in his head and that was that
his father had to be buried.
" Who IS to do It? '' he asked himself.
" Why, his friends ! '* was the natural an-
" Who, Col. LaFayette, and the others of
Those were the only friends he knew. He
had not been to church in forty years, and no
preacher had ever put foot in his home.
" Is there no woman or minister of the gos-
pel? " asked Sid.
" Not one," echo answered.
With these thoughts running through his
mind Sid mounted his mule and started to the
several homes of his friends to announce the
sad news. He had not gone far when he met
Col. LaFayette and others, riding through
Faithful Unto Death 147
eight inches of snow, on their way to Wash-
ington for a drinking frolic. Thinking of
nothing but the exhilarating glass that
awaited them at The Merry Bowl, they did
not recognize Sid Malone as he came riding
down the road.
The death of his father had softened Sid,
and his heart was sore. When his compan-
ions came in sight he was thinking of the un-
certainty of life and the certainty of death, a
subject he had never considered before. The
turning place for him, he argued, had come.
But alas I he met his old cronies, and the flow
of serious thought was diverted.
" Turn back, boys, don't go to town to-
day," said Sid, as he recognized his pals.
" Turn back, my daddy's daid I '*
*' Oh, Sid, don't tell me that your daddy
air daid,'* cried Col. LaFayette, throwing up
his hands at the unexpected and shocking an-
nouncement. "How kin It be?"
" It shore is the truth, and I want you fel-
lers to help me give him a decent burial."
"Well, Sid, there ain't nothin* that I
wouldn't do for Uncle Billy Malone, daid or
148 Tar Heel Tales
alive, and as quick as I go up town and tend
to a little bizness I'll be wid you/'
Col. LaFayette had his mind fatally fixed
on The Merry Bowl, and he felt compelled to
have a drink before he could do anything else,
but, be it said to his credit, that although his
tongue was dry and his head set on the saloon,
his heart — a large, warm one — was with
his dead comrade. He was loyal and true to
his friends, and Uncle Billy stood at the head
of the list.
He went to The Merry Bowl — he and all
of his associates except Sid, who went to the
church to have a grave prepared — took a
round or two of drinks and bought several
bottles to carry away with them. Having
thus fortified against the cold and the dreary
hours ahead the six companions of the Ma-
lones repaired to the little home on the out-
skirts of the town, and began the watch over
Uncle Billy's remains.
Sid Malone and his father lived in a two-
roomed log house, which had been built two
generations before. They had been the sole
occupants since the death of Mrs. Malone,
Faithful Unto Death 149
mother and wife, twenty years prior to that
time. It was a wretched, poverty-stricken
place, unkept and dilapidated.
Here, on the day of the funeral, the friends
of the late lord and master of the hut sat in
silence, doing what they deemed to be the
right thing toward their departed comrade.
The six, with solemn faces, sat looking in the
fire that crackled away on the hearth. Deep
down they were sorrow-stricken but, withal,
the thirst that never dies tugged at them.
At first, when one felt that it was Impossible
to do without a drink any longer, he would
rise and steal quietly out, step aside, and touch
his flask. This was out of respect to the
memory of Uncle Billy. However, this for-
mality did not continue long for, Inside of two
hours, the boys were drinking in the good old
way, and In the presence of the corpse.
Sid returned about noon, broken and de-
jected, and was prevailed upon to take a cup
or two for his nerves.
** It's mighty hard, fellers," said Col. La-
Fayette, '' but we can not undo what has been
done. The Father of All intended that we
ISO Tar Heel Tales
should go just like Uncle Billy went. I hope
that my takin' off will be as sudden and as
unlooked-for as his. I have my thoughts
about the hereafter, but I hope to be with my
friends. Let us drink one glass In honor of
our old friend who has gone on before ! '^
The frequent drinks of whiskey had lifted
the sorrow from the hearts of the little
band of associates.
After dinner, while a heavy snow fell, the
friends of Uncle Billy Malone put the body
in a pine coffin, one made for the purpose by
the dead man, and bore It to Its last resting
place. A hand-car, which was operated on
a spur of a trunk-line road, was used In place
of a hearse. The mourners staggered by the
car and shoved it along the rails. On the
way the casket fell off but was soon replaced..
The drinking begun early In the morning, had
been kept up all day, and Col. LaFayette and
his friends were pretty rocky.
When the funeral party reached the church,
Bellevue Chapel, there was no one to greet It.
Simp Syder, the colored grave digger, was
the only living creature In sight. The trees.
Faithful Unto Death 151
the church top, and the tombstones were cov-
ered with snow, and everything seemed dead
The corpse was carried to the open grave
and let down. After the ropes were pulled
out the associates of the late Uncle Billy
Malone stood and looked at each other, in-
quiring in a mute way: " Is it possible that
no one can say a word — a last word — for
the old man? "
Col. William LaFayette, big-hearted fel-
low that he was, arose to the emergency.
Looking in the grave, at the coffin, and then
passing his eyes from man to man, he knew
that the task had fallen on him. He read
in the faces of the others that he was ex-
pected to perform the last rites and ceremo-
nies over the body of their departed friend.
On realizing this, he said: "Stand 'round
the grave, boys, and pull off your hats. Git
as close as you can.
" There air nobudy here — no preacher,
nor weemens, or the like of that — to say
nuthing, and It just won't do to bury a man
like Uncle Billy Malone without something
152 Tar Heel Tales
being said; if nobudy else will say it, I will.
'' Here air the body of Uncle Billy Ma-
lone, and he air daid. He was as good-er
man as ever lived, and you all know it. And
we air every one drunk, and I would go fur-
ther to remark, and to say, that if Uncle
Billy were here, he'd be drunk, too.
" Let's all hope that he's gone to the Good
Place, for he was a mighty good man.
" If any of the rest of you have got any-
thing to say, say it now, for it will be too
That closed the ceremonies. The grave
was filled in, and the more tender-hearted ones
of the party dropped tears on the red clay
that covered the old fellow's body. It was a
solemn scene, there in the snow-covered grove,
near the church. Uncle Billy's friends had
remained faithful to the last. They had done
the best they knew how.
" RED BUCK": WHERE I CAME BY
THIS is a story of North Carolina Fusion
days, two years before the Constitu-
tional amendment, disfranchising the negro,
was adopted. In 1896 the Populists, man-
aged by Senator Marion Butler, of Sampson,
and the Republicans by Senator Jeter C.
Pritchard, of Buncombe, were standing to-
gether in the State for mutual benefit — for
pelf and pie — what most all active politi-
cians stand together for. The Democrats
were down and out. Ex-Judge Daniel L.
Russell, of Wilmington, and Hon. Oliver H.
Dockery, of Mangum, both of the sixth con-
gressional district, were the candidates for the
Republican nomination for Governor, which,
at that time, meant an election. Charlotte,
Union, Anson, Richmond, Robeson, New
Hanover and other counties were in the Shoe-
154 Tar Heel Tales
The Republicans were very busy.
That being before the negro was disfran-
chised, the Republican party in this immediate
section of the State was largely composed of
Afro-Americans. A county convention was
held in Charlotte, and it was as black
as Africa. Of course there was a sprinkling
of white men in it, but nine out of ten of the
delegates were colored. The Dockeryites
and the Russellites came close to blows.
There were rumors of wars, but no blood was
Every county in the district had had a sim-
ilar convention and named delegates to the
The all-absorbing question was : " Arc
you for Dockery or Russell? "
Mr. Dockery was known as the " Great
Warhorse of the Pee Dee," and Mr. Russell
as " The Mighty Dan of New Hanover."
The Maxton convention promised a live
newspaper story. Unless the hand writing
on the wall had been misread there was blood
on the moon. Some sort of a fight seemed
"Red Buck" .I5i
certain if the delegates of the Shoestring dis-
trict ever got together.
It was at Maxton, as a common reporter,
that I got my nickname, Red Buck, now a
nom de plume. When the fight became
warm I bolted without waiting ceremonies.
We, the Mecklenburg delegates to the dis-
trict convention, and I, my paper's rehance
for the story of the day, left Charlotte on the
early train, a bright spring morning, and jour-
At Monroe the Union delegation got
aboard, and at Wadesboro the Anson, and at
Rockingham and Laurinburg, the Richmond.
The train was literally filled with negroes.
I had a dull time with that crowd until we
got to Rockingham, where Claude Dockery,
whom I had met at the State University at
Chapel Hill several years prior to that, joined
the party and introduced me to the most Inter-
esting character in the Dockery contingent,
Rich Lilly, a tall, wiry, limber negro, with
juicy mouth and knappy, dusty head. Rich
was going to do what he could toward the
156 Tar Heel Tales
nomination of his old friend, Col. Oliver
Dockery. Somewhere between Rockingham
and Maxton Rich and I were thrown together,
when no one else was near. Rich beckoned
to me and dodged behind a freight car and, in
order to see what he wanted, I followed.
" Boss, is you gwine to Maxton? " asked
Rich, holding his right hand under his coat
tail as if to draw his gun.
*' Yes, sir. That is where I am bound
*' Well, say, boss, here's des' a little uv
Duckery's best, won't you have er drink? "
" No, thank you, I don't drink," said I.
*' Looker here, boss, you mus' not be no
" No, I am not."
" Well, Is yer gwine to de convention? "
The train started and we got aboard. Eich
could not understand; my attitude toward his
elixir of life astonished him.
About 12 o'clock the convention met in
a large hall, provided with a rostrum, over
a store on Main street. The hall, having
"Red Buck" 157
been used for a buggy warehouse, had a tram-
way that led from the sidewalk to the floor.
Up this broad and slanting way the delegates
and spectators traveled. I was one among
the first to arrive, with a chair that I bor-
rowed, a small lapboard and a tablet, and
took my seat on the rostrum, in the north cor-
ner, against the rear wall, near a window that
looked out on a back lot, believing that I had
selected the best place in the house for my
At the appointed hour the hall was well
filled with people, principally negroes. See-
ing Mr. Claude Dockery talking and laugh-
ing with me. Rich Lilly became curious again,
and, when no one was about, he came up,
looked me in the eye and asked: *' Boss, for
Gawd's sake, whut Is you gwine ter do ef
you ain't no dellgate."
" I am going to sit here and watch you Re-
publicans, take notes and write you up In the
paper if you don't behave yourselves," was
" O, you's er writer fur de paper? "
158' Tar Heel Tales
" I sees."
I do not recall any but the more violent
Incidents of the convention. As I sat there
and watched the various delegations take their
seats, a looker-on in Vienna pointed out some
of the celebrities.
" That man with the long beard and long
fig-stemmed pipe, Is Dr. R. M. Norment, of
Lumberton," said my coach. " The man
with the cripple hand is Col. B. Bill Terry.
The long-armed man with abbreviated trous-
ers and coat sleeves, Is Speaking Henry Cov-
Many others were named, but I have for-
gotten most of them. Later Big Bill Sutton,
of Bladen, came In. He did not belong to
the convention, but it was understood that he
was there to lead the Russell forces in a rough-
house affair If his services were needed.
No one would have Imagined that the
quiet, lifeless body of men of the first half
hour of the convention would become the mob
that It did before the day was over.
The trouble began when the convention
voted on a permanent chairman, each side
*^ Red Buck" 159
claiming the majority when the balloting was
over. The god of peace had quit the meet-
ing and the devil taken possession. Mr. A.
M. Long, of Rockingham, a handsome man,
with good face, was put up by the Dockery-
ites, and a Wilmington negro by the Russell-
ites. Both Mr. Long and the darkey tried
to take the seat, each mounting the rostrum
and seizing a chair.
This was the signal for a general fight,
which began on the stage.
Knowing the power of Speaking Henry's
lungs the Dockery delegates began to yell
*' Covington," " Covington," *' speech," but
in the meantime the Wilmington negro, the
Russell chairman, had been deprived of his
seat by force. Mr. Long held his with a
brace of Colts.
I want the reader to understand that the
fight then in progress was none of my affair.
To tell the whole truth I did look on with
considerable satisfaction until I saw two or
three men produce pistols; from that time I
had one eye on the convention and the other
looking for a way to escape.
i6o Tar Heel Tales
Every fighting man was coming to the ros-
trum, throwing nervous delegates out of the
way as he advanced.
Rich Lilly brought first blood. The calls
for Henry Covington, the supple man with
the oily tongue, were heeded by that gentle-
man, who was just as fearless as wordy, and
while others glared and swore at each other
he was making the welkin ring with Dockery
thunder. No man ever made more gestures
and took longer strides than did Speaking
Henry that afternoon.
With a quart of mean liquor in his stomach
and a cigarette In his mouth, Rich Lilly, the
warmest Dockerylte of them all, pranced be-
hind Mr. Covington, following him with his
hands and feet as far as he could without
Seeing this double-barreled performance I
lost sight of the free-for-all fight on the op-
posite side of the stage. It wasn't what Mr.
Covington said but the way he said it that at-
tracted. Except for the difference in color
one would have taken Speaking Henry and
Rich Lilly for the Gold Dust twins.
"Red Buck" i6i
" Tell It to 'em ! " shouted Rich, every
time he hit the floor.
" Yes, Lawd, let 'em have It. Dere ain't
no candl-date but Col. Duckery ! "
Tiring of this, a Russell man In the back
section of the hall roared out : " Five dollars
for the man who will pull that long-legged
devil down from there."
No sooner had the offer been made than
did a short, stocky, big-headed negro, with a
Van Dyke beard, start from the fifth row of
seats toward the stand to catch Covington by
I mounted my chair to see. Having the
advantage of the pedestal I could take in
Speaking Henry had charged and jumped
and squatted and bounced until his trousers,
all too short, had climbed nearly to his knees
and his heavy home-knit socks had fallen over
his shoe tops. He was about ready to fly
when the designing negro reached out for his
thin, bare shank.
But there came a turn; Rich Lilly, who had
heard the offer and seen the negro start and
1 62 Tar Heel Tales
wend his way to the stage, was guarding the
speaker. Just as the Wilmington delegate
made a pass at the Dockery speaker, Rich
bowed his back, like a Thomas cat, ducked,
shot forward and gave him a blow between
the eyes and floored him. Speaking Henry
never let up. In fact, he never knew what
had happened until the convention was over.
Rich resumed his antics until he recalled the
fact that I was taking notes and then rushed
back to where I had dropped into my seat,
put his hands on my knees, looked me In the
face and asked, seriously: *' Say, boss, did I
act lak er delegate? "
" Yes, indeed, do it again."
To my certain knowledge Rich hammered
five other delegates after that and came to
see if I approved of the manner in which he
But I was forced to forget Speaking Henry
and Rich Lilly. Other incidents, more excit-
ing and more strenuous, were in progress.
Big Bill Sutton had come upon the rostrum
and was throwing delegates east and west.
Having the advantage of a tremendous frame
"Red Buck'' 163
and a notorious reputation as a scrapper he
walked roughshod over less fortunate ones.
But there was one man, with a keen eye, an
Iron face and frosted hair, that was not afraid
to face him, and that was Mr. Dan Morrison,
of Rockingham, 9, Republican leader at that
As old man Bill surged on the rostrum his
son, Dave, screamed back at Henry Coving-
ton from the hall. I saw Mr. Morrison climb
on the rostrum, and knew that he was mad.
He and Big Bill glowered at each other for
an instant at twenty paces. Two seconds
later they were rushing at each other, like
vicious dogs. They did not have a head-on
collision, but side-swiped. The Rockingham
man got the best of the first round; he tore
Sutton's collar and tie from his neck and
held It between the thumb and forefinger, so
that all might see. Friends Interfered and
prevented an ugly affair.
** Clear the rostrum ! " shouted some one
from the hall.
That is what the chairmen and their friends
had been trying to do for some minutes. But
164 Tar Heel Tales
the delegates crowded around the edge until
they were fifteen or twenty deep and the ros-
trum was alive with opposing factions.
After the Morrison-Sutton mix-up the
fighting became general. Some fellow in the
house knocked Dr. Norment over a seat, jam-
ming his pipe stem halfway down his throat.
Times were beginning to look squally for
me, and I had no way out. To my left was
a window, but if I went out that it meant a fall
of 20 feet to the ground; to my right, an
anteroom, with a small, thin wall ; going out,
down the steps from the rostrum, the way I
came in, seemed at that time an impossibility.
While considering the advisability of going
into the anteroom and closing the door I saw
an upheaval across from me and before I
could catch my breath an old darkey sailed
into the room and slammed the door and I
was cut off there.
All the while the mob on the rostrum be-
came blacker and more like a negro festival.
The old cornfield negroes were just beginning
to catch the spirit of the meeting. As the
colored delegates increased the white ones
*'Red Buck" 165
stole away, imagining that something would
be doing soon.
Seeing the change in color and tempera-
ment of the stage crowd I began to have se-
rious concern about my own welfare. Had
the fight been among my own people I might
have taken a hand, but to sit idly by and be
punctured with a pistol or a knife was not to
my liking. I was slow in making up my
mind. But there came a time when I had
to act before thinking it over. As I sat there
and wondered what injuries I would receive
if I jumped out the window, a big negro, per-
haps a ditcher, clad in overalls and wearing
a cap and high-top boots, broke through the
mob In the hall, jumped up on the stand im-
mediately in front of me, and began to finger
In his boot and swear. I heard him mumble
to himself: " I'll be d — d ef I don't clar dis
hall when I get ole Sallie."
I had an Idea that " Ole Sallle " was a
weapon of some sort, and I was right, for a
half a second later the big nigger rose to his
full height, threw open a razor, turned around
three times (coming close to me as he
1 66 Tar Heel Tales
wheeled) and yelled, " Git off uv dis stage,
don't I'll cut yo' throats — every one uv
I was the first to leave, going over the
heads of the mob that had collected about
the edge of the stage. My notebook flew to
the right and my lapboard to the left, while
I continued my flight straight ahead down the
tramway. As I struck the street, old man B.
B. Terry, whom I knew very well, stood be-
hind the wall of the brick building, and peep-
ing up the exit, said : " I gad, that's no place
for a well man, much less a cripple." I did
not argue the point.
I was followed by many hundreds. In
fact, the entire Russell delegation bolted, some
going through the windows and others down
The Dockery men remained and passed a
few resolutions, but there was no more fight-
Late that afternoon, when the westbound
delegates were waiting at the station to take
the train, some one discovered that Uncle
Hampton, a very ancient colored delegate
"Red Buck" 167
from Monroe, was missing. I heard the
talking and Inquired as to his appearance.
" Why," said I, '' that Is the old fellow that
went In the anteroom when the fight began."
A party of us visited the hall and knocked
on the locked door, but did not get a re-
sponse. Finally we broke In and there sat
old man Hampton, jouked down In the cor-
ner, afraid to move.
Claude Dockery, who sat on the roof and
saw me make the famous leap, went to Ra-
leigh and told Tom Pence, the city editor of
The Times-Visitor, that " Red Buck had
bolted the convention." I was the butt of
papers and politicians for weeks. The Old
Man said, in an editorial, that " Red Buck "
would have to explain why he bolted and he
did as best he could. Mr. Caldwell had dub-
bed me " Brick Top," '' Strawberry Blond,"
and " Red Buck," and the last name stuck
because of the Maxton convention and Claude
UNTIL DEATH DO US PART
THE man who earns by the sweat of his
brow or the cunning of his mind a com-
fortable living for those dependent upon him
should not complain but consider the mean
lot of others, less fortunate, and rejoice at his
good fate. There is not a day of my life that
I do not see some wretch faring worse than
I ; some poor person struggling desperately to
keep body and soul together.
Let us thank God for a sound mind and a
sound body: that we do not think side-whis-
kers are pretty and that we have not hair-lips.
One day not long ago, while hurrying from
my work, I passed a Greek peanut roaster,
and wondered about his lot. Day after day
I had seen him with his little push-cart, but
rarely had I observed any customers.
" How fares it to-day? '* said I, as I hur-
Until Death Do Us Part 169
" Fine, thank you : little mon, good book,
good health, and heap of joy! "
" There is a philosopher," thought I to my-
self. " He is a happy man. His life seems
to be sweet, although he has but little of the
goods of this world."
That very day John, that son of Athens,
had sold less than fifty cents worth of truck,
yet he was rejoicing as he sat on the curbing,
reading the life of Thomas Jefferson in
On a fine afternoon. In the spring of 1898,
I walked from the Hotel LaFayette, at Fay-
etteville, to the Cape Fear river. I had a
purpose in making the trip; I had been
threatened with a fit of melancholia and was
trying to stave It off. I strolled down to the
water's edge, where fishermen were wont to
tie their boats at night, and stood there look-
ing, looking, studying the topography of the
country and the people In their labor for
bread and meat.
I tarried on a pretty little hill, just above
the river, where I had a good view of the
water and surrounding fields. The territory
170 Tar Heel Tales
for a hundred yards square in my immedi-
ate vicinity was bald and smooth from the
constant tread of fishermen's feet. Back of
that, early vegetables and succulent grasses
were springing up. Along the shore a dozen
or more batteaus, or small fishing boats, were
chained to stakes, or anchored to each other.
Far up and down the river I could see
men in boats, gliding noiselessly along the
banks, setting hooks for the evening bite.
It was past the middle of the afternoon and
the big fish, cats, carp and red horse, were
beginning to run. This the fishermen knew
and were hurrying to place their hooks,
baited with mussels. At nine o'clock at
night and early the next morning the hooks
While standing there, gazing here and
there, I saw a party of small negro boys,
wading to their waists in the water, graveling
in the sand, for mussels to sell to the fisher-
men. Silently and doggedly, the little fel-
lows hunted the slimy, shell-covered creatures,
gathering them by the hundred.
The longer I remained there on that knoir,
Until Death Do Us Part 171
In the midst of that peculiarly fascinating
life, the more Interested I became. Every
man, every woman and every boy or girl
appealed to me. Between five-thirty and six
o'clock the men who baited and placed the
hooks came ashore, fastened their boats, and
went to their respective homes for supper
and a moment with their wives and children
before starting out for the night fish. I saw
them go and come with their nets. From
dark until about ten o'clock they fished for
shad, the most valuable fish in the Cape Fear
at that season of the year.
It is Intensely fascinating to watch the
movements and study the habits and man-
ners of the people who get their living from
the water. They belong to a certain class
and are of a certain type, differing from their
brothers and sisters who till the soil. Lov-
ing the water and having become so used to
it, they would not quit it for the land.
As a rule, river people are strong and
ruddy. Their faces are hard and sunburned
and their muscles well-knit and tough.
It is a wholesome life.
172 Tar Heel Tales
These be the sort of men I saw that after-
noon. On the ground they were awkward,
ill at ease, and grouchy, but in their boats
graceful, sturdy and merry.
Soon after I went down to the river and
settled myself, to look on and learn what I
could of the ways of the living things about
me, I heard a shuffling noise behind me, and
when I turned to ascertain the cause, my
eyes fell upon the most pitiful creature it had
ever been my fortune to see. A woman, yes,
a woman, one of God's noblest creatures,
stood and gazed in wonderment at me. She
had approached within a few feet of me be-
fore she realized that I was a living being;
I was hid from the view of the path that
leads from the town to the river by a thicket
of weeds and grass.
Once I began to look at the woman I could
not keep from staring at her. She was rag-
ged, wrinkled and unwashed. The clothes
that covered her back, all bent and mis-
shapen, were tattered and torn. Her leath-
ery face was deeply seamed and drawn.
The queer sound that attracted my attention
Until Death Do Us Part 173
as she came up, was made by her shoes, which
were large, not mates, and without strings.
They slipped up and down upon her naked
heels and made the " slick-slack," " slick-
slack " noise, so familiar to the country boy
who has plowed in his father's cast-off
brogans, several numbers too large for his
The woman was pathetic-looking, her
crestfallen face was partially hid from me
by an antiquated, dilapidated, weather-beaten
split bonnet. Every garment she wore was
a misfit and threadbare.
I felt myself drawn to this poverty-stricken
creature. In order that I might find out
something about her, I engaged her in con-
versation before she could wheel and escape.
" Are you going fishing? " I asked.
" No," she answered pleasantly; " I came
down to see if I could see my old man. He
" Do you live here? "
" Yes. We have lived in this town thirty-
odd years ; me and my old man."
" What does he do for a living? "
174 Tar Heel Tales
" Well, he fishes now. He is getting so
old and feeble that he cannot do anything
else. When young and strong, he worked
on a freight boat on the river, but his health
failed about ten years ago, and we have had
a mighty hard time since. I have actually
seed the time that we did not have enough
to eat. He is proud, and would not beg.
He fishes, while I tries to make a little money
washing and sewing, but he will not let me
" Have you any children? "
" No, sir. Mister; God never gave us any,
and I expect it is best. We are so poor they
might have a hard time. Me and him are
all of the two families left. He is the only
person that I have to look to and he is good
to me. He does his best, and God will not
forget him for it."
'* Do you own a home? "
*' No, sir. We have nothing but a little
bit of furniture. We live in a rented house
and the man who owns it could put us out to-
night, but he is a Christian and would not
do it. We have paid no rent in six years.
Until Death Do Us Part 175
We just can't; that's the reason. But it
won't be long now, for my old man is getting
weak — weaker day by day. He can't live
much longer, and when he goes I hope that
I may go too. We have been together forty-
odd years, and In death I pray that God will
not part us.
" The Lord has been good to us. We
get comfort from the Bible.
"We don't see anybody nowadays; we
go nowhere, and nobody comes to see us.
The friends we had in more prosperous days
have deserted us; there Is nothing about us
to attract people. Some seem to shun us
through fear that we may beg, but never,
never; we would starve first. My old man
is too proud to beg. I live in fear that he
may get so feeble that he cannot go and that
we will have nothing. He often says that
he hopes he will die some night after fishing
all day. If he does, I want to go too."
" Do you ever go to church? "
** No, Mister; we haven't been in goin'
on ten years. We have no fit clothes. The
churches look too fine inside for our old rags,
176 Tar Heel Tales
but we read our old Bible every Sunday.
We can't read much now; our eyes are bad;
but we get much comfort out of the Good
" The Church folks don't ever come to see
us. They don't need us, as we ain't got no
money to give. I guess when we die some
good preacher will say a word over our
graves; I don't know."
This said, the old woman moved on to-
ward the river, craning her neck as she went,
so that she could see to the right of a clump
of trees that stood near the water, looking
for her husband, but she must not have seen
him, for she soon passed back on her way
Becoming interested in what she said, I
made up my mind to remain there till the
old gentleman arrived and look him over.
I had a long wait, for it was almost dark
when his little boat hove In sight. His wife
had been back and looked up the river sev-
eral times. She seemed lonely, restless and
I felt sorry for the old woman, but was
Until Death Do Us Part 177
afraid to say so. It was, as she said, a bitter
fight for existence. The aged pair had no
associates, and actually suffered from pov-
The last time she came to the landing
she carried in her arms a tiny, toothless,
*' Is that your pet?" said I, anxious to
reopen the conversation.
" Yes, he's nearly twenty-two years old,
and has been ours since a pup."
^^ He is very old," I declared, for the want
of something better.
" Yes; and blind, and toothless."
" Why do you keep him? "
" For w^hat he has been. It would be
cruel to kill him or desert him now, when
he cannot take care of himself. I shall keep
him until he dies, unless I go first. When
he was younger he kept me company, and
guarded our little home, when my old man
was down the river for days and nights at a
time, and now, if God spares me, I will see
him through. I have to make a sort of
soup for him to eat, and guide his footsteps.
178 Tar Heel Tales
I do not think he is here for much longer;
he is getting very thin and frail.'*
She let him down on the ground by her
side, and said: *' Fido, do you love your
mistress?'* and the grateful little brute
shook his tail.
The wife was not there when the husband
came; though I had never seen him before
I knew him when he landed. His face was
haggard and worn, and his body emaciated.
Some disease preyed at his vitals. His con-
stitution was gone, but the blazing fire of
pride still burned in his gray eyes. The will
and the spirit were there. He had a fair
string of fish, and after eating the smaller
ones would have enough left to bring twenty-
Having tied his boat, he shouldered his
tackle, took up his fish, and climbed the hill
past me. I did not see his eyes searching
for the faithful wife who had four times
come to greet him; this lack of care I did
not like. He seemed too indifferent. Pos-
sibly he was disappointed when his old com-
panion was not there to meet him, not know-
Until Death Do Us Part 179
ing that she had come and gone time after
time. He dragged his weary limbs over the
brow of the hill, and toward the city. As
he went by, I had a good opportunity to
observe his clothes. He was not the one-
gallus fellow that the politicians so often
refer to, but the no-gallus one. His trousers
were held up by sharp hip-bones and his
shirt was decorated with vari-colored patches.
I followed the old man, until he met his
wife, who was coming In a half-trot from
their little cabin. The meeting was full of
meaning. No word was uttered; no- time
lost. He looked solemn, the least bit angry,
and she smiled, a bitter sad smile, and turned
and followed him. Her eyes were on the
fish, giving them a cash valuation.
All of this passed without a sound from
That night, after I had enjoyed a good
meal, to gratify my curiosity I walked by the
home of the lonely couple, and found them
enjoying a pipe of tobacco each. The little
dog was there, on the top step between them,
and they were apparently happy.
i8o Tar Heel Tales
As I moved on, I said to myself: "I
wonder how it would feel to be penniless,
friendless, decrepit and old, but too proud
to beg? "
May fortune smile on the old fisherman,
his loyal helpmeet and their little dog !
UNCLE GEORGE AND THE
THE summer season was In full blast at
Lake Toxaway. Hundreds of South-
erners and scores of others were there, en-
joying the Invigorating climate, the cooling
breezes, and the open-air pastimes — golf,
tennis, fishing, horseback riding, and rowing.
For weeks the weather had been fair and
fine, and the beautiful and popular resort, in
the Blue Ridge, teemed with vivacious vis-
itors, who romped on the lake. In the woods,
and along the roads by day and danced,
played cards and other Indoor games, and
chatted In the evenings, making merry fifteen
hours a day.
Among the guests at Toxaway Inn was an
Englishman, a Mr. Ferrler, who had come
to North Carolina In search of rare beetles.
To the other guests of the fashionable hos-
telry Ferrler was a freak — a bug hunter —
1 82 Tar Heel Tales
who, although he mixed but rarely with the
crowd, was well known to all by his tall,
lanky form, his long stride, and energetic and
positive air, on account of which he had in-
curred, without his knowledge, the dislike of
many who came in touch with him. Wher-
ever he went he left the impression that he
believed England was the only place fit for
a decent person to live.
Captain James Brusard, proprietor of the
inn, would not have tolerated Ferrier, with
his whims and kicks, had he not been one
of his most profitable guests, occupying an
expensive room, for which he paid an ex-
orbitant price. The Englishman was liberal
with his money, but his manner, which to the
average Southerner seemed surly and uncivil,
made him disagreeable to those with whom
he came in contact, especially the easy-going,
indolent servants, most of whom were old-
time negroes, such as had been with the Bru-
sards for more than half a century. The
excellent fare, carefully selected and well
cooked, the exhilarating atmosphere, the re-
freshing water and the wealth of insects and
Uncle George and the Englishman 183
flowers pleased him very much, but hilarious
pleasure-seekers, and the indifferent negroes
riled him. The pretty, elegantly-dressed
women, with their merry chatter, did not
appeal to him.
" Bugs ! Bugs ! ! Nothing but bugs ! "
was his cry.
" I never seed sich a man since I been
born," said Uncle George, the head porter.
" We ain't got nuthin' dat suits him. When-
ever I see him comin', wid dat baskit on his
arm, an' dat single-bar'l glass on his eye, den
I knows some trouble's on de way."
Ferrier, much to the joy of his fellow
lodgers, spent most of his time in the woods,
hunting insects. Every sunny day he would
leave bright and early and stay away until
late in the afternoon, sometimes tramping ten
or twelve miles and back between suns. Na-
tives, as well as visitors, soon became in-
terested in him and his work, but no one
ever sought him out to interrogate him, or
to converse with him. His demeanor was
forbidding, yet he never intentionally af-
fronted any one. To the few he made up to
184 Tar Heel Tales
he was very affable and likable. He meant
well, but his neighbors could not become
accustomed to his brusqueness.
The Toxaway country abounds in deer,
grouse and trout. During the busy season,
sportsmen bring in many trophies of the
hunt. Ferrler, If one were to judge from his
conversation, was an authority on game. In
talking of the catch or kill of the North Caro-
lina fishermen or hunters, he would speak
slightingly, and this, more than any other
thing, made him unpopular.
" I 'clar' 'fo' Gawd," said Uncle George,
one day, *' ain't we got nuthin' as good as
whut dey's got In Englan' ? "
Robert Brusard, son of the Captain,
caught a very large trout, brought it home
and exhibited It in front of the hotel, and
one after another declared that It was the
finest fish of the kind he had ever seen, but
when Ferrler saw It he shook his head, and
said: *' Yes, yes, that Is a big trout, but we
have larger ones than that In England."
When a grouse was shown he made about the
same comparison, and a deer, always giving
Uncle George and the Englishman 185
his country the best of It. This kept up until
every American in the community was mad
*' Ef I live, so hep me Gawd, I'll git some-
fin' bigger dan whut dey's gut in Englan',"
declared Uncle George, the boss of all the
darkies. " I sho' is gwine to git even wid
" When Marse Robert go out here an'
ketch de bigges' trout dat de oles' men in
dese parts ever seed, den come *long dat man,
wid his single-bar'l eyeglass, slap It up to his
face, an' 'low: * Yes, dat's er putty big fish,
but dey's gut bigger ones dan dat in Englan'.'
I don't say much, fur I ain't never been dare.
But dat ain't all. No, sir, he don't stop
den, but des keep on an' on.
" De yudder day, when Marse Jim killed
dat grouse — I believe dat's whut dey call
It, but it look des lak a sho' nuff ole speckle
hen to me — an' fetch it here, all whut see It,
'cepin' dat Englishman, say dat It's de big-
ges' bird uv de kind in all de Ian', I won-
dered whut he gwine to say. Yes, sir, I des
wonder whut he gwine to say. But I ain't
1 86 Tar Heel Tales
hafter wonder long, fur he come 'long, step-
pin' two yards at a time, an' stop, an' put
on dat single-bar'l eyeglass, an' look down
at de grouse. I helt my breaf until he say:
' Yes, yes, dat's er putty big bird, but dey's
gut bigger grouse dan dat in Englan'.'
" Dat wuz too much. I des gut right sick
when he say it. An' no longer dan de day
befo', right dare in de back yard, he say dat
de deer whut de gemmun frum Atlanty kilt
wuz er big one, but not as big as de ones dey
have in Englan'.'*
One afternoon, not long after the deer in-
cident, the old negro was fishing in Horse-
shoe River, at the foot of the mountain,
when he saw another fisherman catch a mud
turtle, or cooter, as the natives called it. At
the sight of the wriggling thing, a happy
thought came to Uncle George.
" I sho' will trade fur dat cooter an' git
even wid de Englishman,'* said he. *' Yes,
sir; dat's des whut I'll do.*'
Going up to the man who had landed the
turtle, George asked: "Say, boss, how'll
you swap dat tuckle fur some fish? "
Uncle George and the Englishman 187
I'll trade fair," said the mountaineer.
" .Well, I'm yo' man, ef you will, fur I
wants dat cooter," declared the darkey.
*' I'll give you two trouts fur him? "
The exchange was made and George set
out for home. No one knew what the negro
was up to until he let a few of his friends,
white and black, onto his game.
** Marse Jim, I wants you an' Marse Rob-
ert to come roun' to de back yard des arter
dinner," said George to Mr. Brusard.
"What are you up to, George?" asked
the white man.
" Des a little fun, sir. Be sho' an' be
dere ! "
George went through the house, telling
those whom he liked that he would expect
them at the rear of the building that evening
at half-past nine.
At the appointed hour the little yard
was full of curious persons, anxious to
know what sort of trick the ex-slave had
" George, what is this you are giving us? "
asked young Brusard.
1 88 Tar Heel Tales
" Ax me no questions, an' I'll tell you no
lies," answered the negro.
" Marse Jim, ef you all des wait here till
de Englishman go to his room den you'll
see some fun."
" What have you done to Mr. Ferrier's
" Des evenin', while I wuz down on
Horseshoe, fishin', I seed a mountain man
ketch er tuckle, one of dese here cooters
whut bites an' holds on till it thunders, an'
I swapped fur it, brought it home an' tuck
It up dere an' put It In dat man's bed. Yes,
sir; I slip up dere right easy lak, pull de kiver
down an' slip him in beween de sheets, so dat
when Mr. Ferrier hop in he'll hop out ergln.
All you gut to do Is to wait."
A little snicker passed over the crowd.
Soon after nine the bug-hunter climbed the
stairs from the office to his room, unlocked
the door, struck a match and lit the candle
on the table by the bed.
"Now listen," whispered Uncle George;
" he's up dere. Did you hear him scratch de
Uncle George and the Englishman 189
match. He won't be dere long 'fo' he jumps
in de bed, an' den trouble'll begin.
*' Look, look; see de light go out I
*' Now listen, an' you'll hear him bounce
*' Listen; hear de bed a screachin' I
'' He's in."
" Help ! Ho ! " came from the window
" Listen! " cried the darkey.
The crowd below could hear everything.
Ferrler sprung out of the bed, fell over a
chair, rose to his feet, scrambled out the door,
and came flying down the back way, yelling
^'Help! A dog! A mad cat!"
The onlookers stood perfectly still, while
Ferrier rushed into the yard, with the turtle
hanging on to his night shirt.
**Take it off! Kill It!" shouted the
" Des let him run," whispered Uncle
Round and round the frightened fellow
190 Tar Heel Tales
went, with the turtle swinging against his
legs, now and then scratching them.
*' Knock this thing off, George," he cried
to the old negro.
*' Ef you'll stop so I kin hit It widout hit-
tin' you," was the reply.
Picking up a broom handle, George cracked
the creature on the head and broke it loose.
** What in the name of the Lord is that,
George?" asked the Briton, as he turned
and gazed upon the dying turtle.
" Dat, sir, is a 'Merlkin bed bug. Is you
gut any in Englan' dat kin beat it? "
SHE DIDN'T LIKE MY YELLOW
HUMAN nature is the same the world
over, and the train is the best place to
get the cream of It.
The other day, while on my way from
Kansas City to St. Louis, in a day coach, I
lost my seat to two ladies, who, disregarding
my suit case and coat, had taken possession
while I was in the rear getting a drink of
water. This I did not mind, as there were
plenty of seats vacant. Soon after the new-
comers had arrived they began to buy and
eat fruit, using a time-table which I had se-
cured and marked for my convenience, as a
receptacle for the peelings and seed. This
annoyed me just a little, for I could not get
a fresh one until I reached the end of my
journey, but I said nothing.
An hour later, after I had taken a short
nap and lost the run of the stations, I de-
192 Tar Heel Talcs
sired to consult my schedule. Looking over
the way, I found that the younger woman had
disappeared, leaving her companion, an old
lady dressed in heavy black, wearing on her
head an antiquated split bonnet. Thinking
of nothing but my time-table, I got up and
went to where the aged traveler sat and,
without much ado, reached down and picked
It up. My intention was to steal away un-
observed, so that the woman would not feel
called upon to offer an apology for taking
my seat, but I was foiled. As I lifted the
book a cold, bony, clammy hand shot from be-
neath a black sleeve and fastened my wrist
with a vice-like grip. The turn was so sud-
den and so unexpected that I lost my equi-
" My time-table, good lady, Is all that I
want," said I, as meekly as possible.
*' It's mine," was the sharp reply, the hand
closing on my wrist.
*' I beg your pardon, madam, but I have
carried that folder for two days."
*' You hain't no sich thing, fur I got it
She Didn't Like My Yellow Shoes 193
" I do not like to dispute your word,
madam, but I left this book on this seat and
it was here when you came this morning."
" You're just a tellin' what ain't so, an'
I don't lak to be meddled wid by no man
wid yaller shoes."
" O, I see it Is my shoes you do not like ! "
" No, I don't lak you ner none lak you.
What you got on that long thing fur? "
I wore a long automobile coat, or duster,
to protect my clothes, and the old lady did
not like that. Seeing what a tempest I had
stirred, I decided to fight it out just for fun.
" Madam, you wouldn't mind my taking
my suit case out of here so that you could
have more room for your feet? "
" No. It hain't got no bizness in here
" Why, my dear, I know It hasn't," said
" I ain't none of your dear, an' don't you
call me that nuther."
" Pardon me, sister, but I meant to be
pleasant to you."
*' I wouldn't choose any of your pleasant-
194 Tar Heel Tales
ness. It's just lak you drummer chaps.
I've heard of your doin's before."
She thought I was a knight of the grip,
and feared that I would flirt with her. That
" My coat — that's it hanging there above
your head, where I put it before you took
" 'Tain't your seat I How come it your
" I am not claiming it, mother, but just
explaining how my coat got there — that's
all. No, it is your seat by the right of pos-
session, and I should not ask you to move if
I had to hang on the bell cord."
" You make out lak you're powerful per-
lite, but the way you drummers do nobudy
— not even an ole woman lak me — kin tell
what you're up to."
" I beg your pardon, madam, but I am
not a drummer. I live one thousand miles
from here, and am on my way home from
the Democratic convention, at Denver, to see
my wife and little girl. I have tried to be-
have myself and it grieves me to think that
She Didn't Like My Yellow Shoes 195
I offended you, but I am sure you will not
say that I did It intentionally. I entered this
train early this morning, at Kansas City, and
picked this seat, where the sun would not
shine on me, and occupied it. Later, you and
your friend came in and captured it while
I drank at the water cooler, and I had origi-
nally selected one that your good taste made
you prefer to the many empty ones that were
here when you came. That is the whole
story. I wanted to see my time-table, and
came for it. You took hold of my arm —
something I never permit any woman but my
wife to do — "
" You know that ain't so," declared the
disputant hotly. " I never held your arm."
" Look now, my dear, and see if you have
not my wrist."
That was the blow that killed mother, for
she still held my wrist, although I had
dropped the folder. Here a bit of color
mounted the pale, wrinkled cheeks.
*' I love to see a pretty woman blush,"
said I, smiling from ear to ear.
" You shet your mouth. I ain't blushin' I
196 Tar Heel Tales
I wish my brother was here. Td make him
crack your head.'^
" Your brother — where is your husband
or your son? "
*' I ain't got none, as I have never been
*' O, I see; you are still enjoying single
bliss — a charming old maid? "
" It's none of your bizness what I am.
You've got nuthin' to do with me."
Passengers several seats back and front
were listening to the controversy, which had
been fast and sharp, and enjoying it.
" Well, good soul, I will leave you if you
will give me my time-table."
" It's none of yourn, but take it an' go."
" Not until you are convinced that it is
" It's mine, but you kin have It."
"Just one word? Did you write your
name on your book? "
" No, I didn't."
" Well, if you will look inside there you
will find my name. If you do not I shall
apologize and give you a basket of candy."
She Didn't Like My Yellow SHoes 197
" I don't want your candy."
" I know you don't, but you will look for
my name? "
As she opened the book and revealed the
name, I said: "That's my handwriting, as
you will see by comparing it with this on my
" Now look on page forty and see if the
table from Kansas City to St. Louis is not
She was convinced that I owned the book.
" Now, madam, if you will look over there
on top of your telescope you will find your
table, right where you put it when you came
In. I am sorry to have troubled you, and
as we journey through this vale of tears if
I can ever do you a turn you may call on
me. I like your spunk."
" You go on about your bizness an' let me
erlone an' I'll 'tend to mine. If you'll throw
them yaller shoes in the river an' give that
jimswinger to some nigger you'll look putty
When the old damsel got up to leave the
train, I hurried up, like a young gallant,
198 Tar Heel Tales
grabbed up her luggage and carried it to
the door before she had time to protest.
" Good-bye, sweetheart," I shouted, as the
train pulled out, and in reply she yelled:
*' Shet your mouth, smarty! "
AFRAID OF THE FROWZY BLONDE
C4TT7HY don't you slide in by the
VV frowzy blonde?" asked Sanford
of Roark, who backed himself up against a
seat in the first-class car, as the train came
down the mountain.
" She's like a snow peak," said Roark.
" I passed and looked longingly, but you
should have seen the icy stare she handed
" Yes, but when the train is crowded, as
it is, she is not entitled to a whole seat," re-
sponded Sanford. *' You would be justified
in scrouging in."
" It is no question of my right," said
Roark, " but those frigid eyes took the nerve
out of me. I think she's been in cold stor-
" In beating about the country, old fellow,
I have become somewhat of a physiognomist.
200 Tar Heel Tales
The woman or man who holds an entire seat,
In a crowded car, does so by force. Take
the blonde there, why, you could not any
more approach her than you could a bull dog
nibbling on a bone.
*' If I am one of many who occupy seats
In a car and a stranger asks me If I will share
with him I feel complimented. The person
asked to share a seat with me, by me, should
feel honored, for I do not sit down by any
old scrub If I can avoid it, and I usually can.
One day, not long ago, I saw a little girl on
a car, unattended, go to a gentleman whom
she had never seen before and take a seat
by him. I did not know the man, but had
admired his kind, gentle face, and the child
had picked him as a safe companion.
" What a handsome compliment ! I
would give my fortune for that man's coun-
tenance. Mark Twain Is credited w^Ith say-
ing that, in passing, a dog will lick the hand
of an honest man, but will growl at a
" Instinct tells us.
*' Of course, I should like to have that
Afraid of the Frowzy Blonde 201
seat — any seat — but the young woman does
not want to share it. I shall stand."
The Shoofly was full to overflowing that
day, but the blonde, with the wealth of hair,
such as It was, and the drowsy look, traveled
unmolested. Somewhere, while crossing the
foothills, she lifted her feet to the seat, let
her head down upon the aisle-arm, and slept.
The engine blew^ the wheels squeaked, and
babies cried, but she knew it not; she was
making up for lost time.
" She's dead to the world now," said San-
*' Yes," declared Roark, *' and If she
doesn't mind some of that hair will drop to
the floor. I have been watching It shake as
the car rocks on."
" I should laugh if it w^ould," declared
At that juncture the upper end of a long,
yellow curl broke from Its mooring, fell back
and began to fly with the winds.
" Look at that," said Roark.
The curl whirled around a time or two
and fell to the floor.
202 Tar Heel Tales
The train moved on, crossing rough places
in the road, and the sleeping head went up
and down. A second curl — what is known
as a Minerva knot — began to loosen in the
east and the west.
" It's a landslide this time,'* said San-
" It looks that way," Roark acquiesced.
" But I shall not complain, no matter what
" I wish that lady would wake up," said
a female voice across the aisle. " I fear her
hair will lose its Grecian effect. But I will
not arouse her; it might make her mad."
" I believe, without being able to say pos-
itively, Charlie, that she has on fluffy ruffers,"
said Roark, laughing.
" I have studied the combination and I
can't quite unlock it," said Sanford, " but
I think she has what they call a transforma-
tion pompadour, with coronet braid, zephyr
curls, all of which is covered with a bunch
of real Grecian curls, but I must admit that
I am not much on diagnosing a case like
Afraid of the Frowzy Blonde 203
** Make way, for the earth Is giving," said
a citizen w^ho had just arrived.
A section of hair, shaped like a shovel,
such as the farmers use for bursting out mid-
dles, or to go with a sweep, gave way and
fell. Inside up.
*' That's a loller-perlooler," said Roark.
** I wonder if we could get a basket to put
The rain of ornaments had started.
Everybody was expectant. Rats, rolls, puffs,
curls and knots were loosening. A bundle
of wire, something akin to a small mouse
trap, came with the hair.
*' Nope, it's the Wire Trust In disguise,"
*' Hold your tongue ! It's a summer ho-
tel," said the newcomer, who had become
thoroughly Interested, as a bit of hair, done
up In fine silk, fell out. " Rats, rat traps and
The lady began to wiggle.
*' Carry me away," said Roark.
*' It's to the Land of Nod for me," ex-
204 Tar Heel Tales
** The baggage room for me," said the
Ten more rats, six rolls, two curls and a
small knot were the last to go down. Piled
on the floor, in the shape of a cone, was a
peck measure full of all sorts of hair dress-
ing. Yellow prevailed, but there was any-
thing from a drab to a chemical blonde.
The owner, one time possessor, waked in
the course of time, and, on feeling curious
about the head, ran her hand back to see if
she had lost anything.
"What about that?" said she to herself,
realizing the extent of her loss.
" Ghnarr! " snorted Sanford, snoring.
*'Whee-oo!" retorted Roark, who had
fallen suddenly asleep in a seat, just cap-
" I am so thankful that everybody is
asleep," said the blonde, aside. " What a
" Spoo-it ! " snored Sanford.
Bit by bit, piece by piece, the dislocated
charms were picked up and shoved into a
traveling bag, and the young woman retired
Afraid of the Frowzy Blonde 205
to the toilet room, from which she emerged
an hour later, looking as pert and as grand
as ever, just as if nothing unusual had hap-
pened, every rat, or curl, in its place.
Sanford, Roark and their new friend, the
man who arrived late, disputed over recent
JAN PIER — THE SHOESHINE
JAN PIER, the little Frenchman, who
came here several months ago from Nor-
folk, is going back to the Atlantic coast,
where he can hear the roar of the mighty
waters as they break upon the American
shores, and see the ships as they come and go.
One morning, about ninety days ago, as I
approached the square, on East Trade, I be-
held a shock-headed boy, bowing low shining
a shoe. Beneath the auburn locks shone the
skin of an Anglo-Saxon.
*' A white shoe-shine?" said I to Chris
Karnazes, the fruit dealer, at the Central
" Yes," answered Chris, joyfully and
" Me brought him to work here."
"What is his name?"
It was a beautiful Sunday — fair, cool
Jan Pier — the Shoeshine 207
and bracing, and everybody save Jan Pier
and two colored associates had on their holi-
day clothes. Chris wore a clean shirt, white
collar and red tie. It was his day off, but
Jan, the newcomer, the boy of seventeen,
with thick brown hair, and big brownish eyes,
bent to his labors, side by side with negro
lads, in tattered togs. Not a word did the
Frenchman utter, nor a time lift his face,
but slaved on and on, hour after hour, polish-
ing shoes, and taking in nickels.
" Have a shine," said Chris to me.
I mounted the stand. Jan Pier, without
looking up, ran his rag across my shoe.
"Where are you from, young fellow?"
No answer; not even a grunt.
" Where, boy, is your home? '*
Chris spoke to him in Greek.
" France," said Jan, looking up Into my
"Where did he come from, Chris?"
That was the first time I saw Jan Pier.
A Frenchman — an auburn-haired French-
2o8 Tar Heel Tales
man — with bright eyes, working for a
Greek and with an A fro- American shoeblack!
How could it be?
A week later, Jan Pier, with downcast
look, soiled clothes, and tear-stained cheeks,
came to me, silently begging.
" What is the matter? " I asked.
" Me no work; no mon; no friends."
I pitied Jan, but what could I do. The
next day the Greek at the corner gave him
work. I asked a negro boy why Jan left
Chris, and he answered: " Jan knock down,
I had Jan shine my shoes every time they
needed it. I wrote a story about him, and
advertised his business, hoping that it might
prosper. But Jan flourished not. Once
more he loafed the streets penniless, hungry,
friendless, and far, far from home and loved
" Jan, where did you come from? "
" Before that, even?*^
Jan Pier — the Shoeshlne 209
"When did you leave France?"
" I was twelve years old."
" Did you run away? "
" Where did you go? "
" To Turkey."
" How did you get to this country? "
" On a big ship."
" Were you a stowaway? "
" I helped the seamen."
That IS the story of Jan Pier. He ran
away from home, when a small boy, went to
Turkey, learned Greek, and four years later
shipped for America, and landed at Norfolk.
In the course of a short time he drifted to
Charlotte, where he has been very unhappy,
nobody to talk with, no kind friend to help
him, and no wise hand to guide him. His
energy, courage, and stout heart and body
have kept him going. But, now, alas, he Is
tired of the struggle among strangers, who
do not understand his language, and will go
back to Norfolk, and, perhaps, home. A
generous-hearted Greek, of one of the Greek
2IO Tar Heel Tales
restaurants, Is getting up a purse to defray
his railroad fare to the Virginia city.
Soon the little outcast will say " adieu."
When Jan came to me the second time,
with the woe-begone look, I took him to
Buster Brown, the mailing clerk, and recom-
mended him for a newsboy. Buster ran his
cruel eye over him and asked, in Pilot Moun-
tain vernacular: "Have you ever har-
pooned the public in any way? "
" A coup sur," said Jan.
" What's that youVe handed me? " asked
" ' Surely,' he means," said I.
"What is he?"
" Will you accept mc as a friend? " asked
Buster, proud to have a real Frenchman for
" A bras ouverts," was the reply.
" Come again," said the Pilot Mountain
" He says * with open arms * he will be
" Good, I gad."
Jan Pier — the Shoeshlne 211
" Coute qu'Il coute," declared Jan, smil-
*' The devil abit," said Dick Allen, who
had just come up, " and what is it he says? "
*' He has sworn to be Buster's friend ' Let
it cost what It may.' "
" A beau jeu, beau retour (one good turn
deserves another) ."
Buster and Jan, the one six-feet-five, erect,
weighing 260, and the other, four-feet-one,
, stocky, and stooped, ambled off toward the
" That pile of old papers, under the table,
will be your bed, Monsieur Jan Pier," said
' Buster. " Your drawing room and all.
The spigot will be your wash basin, and any
old issue of The Observer or Chronicle, your
towel. May you prosper."
Jan Pier stirred the enmity of the native
newsboys, some of whom hammered him the
next morning when out of sight of the shop
force. Although dejected and sad, the
Frenchman sold every paper he took out.
Offering one to a traveling man, who was
climbing in a hack at the Selwyn, he imagined
212 Tar Heel Tales
that his offer had been accepted, and -ran to
the station, four blocks away, keeping close
in the wake of the hustling horse. Seeing
what the boy had done the salesman said:
" I will take two." Jan was delighted.
Unable to talk and tell his troubles, sur-
rounded by hostile youngsters, and contend-
ing with prospective customers made life one
long, desperate fight for the Frenchman.
The climax came one night, when he slum-
bered in his corner beneath the table in the
press room, and a loafer, a town lad, slept
above him. Somebody, on mischief bent,
turned the hose on the shaver on the top
berth, and the water poured down on Jan.
That was the straw that broke the camel's
back — the fighting word had passed, and
the pent-up dander of the bushy red head was
at last aroused. As the intruding chap fell
off of his perch Jan nailed him, believing
that he had wet him, and such a fight as was
never witnessed In The Observer building be-
Round and round the diminutive pugilists
went until Jan showed signs of the savage.
Jan Pier — the Shoeshlne 213
and onlookers interfered to prevent murder.
The devil in Jan was in tumult and he fought
like a Spartan.
After that the boys — the paper sellers —
left Jan alone.
Now, Jan is going to leave us. His
friends will chip in and help him on the way.
He will be missed in circles where his au-
burn hair has become familiar. Jan, indus-
trious, capable, and good-natured, but unfa-
miliar with the ways of this country, deserves
credit for being as good as he is.
Some day Jan Pier may wander back again.
WILLIAM AND APPENDICITIS
^^ THERE'S one thing dat I can't under-
JL/ Stan*," said William Gorrell, the
doorkeeper at the Southern Manufacturers*
Club. " Yes, sir, an' it's puzzled me er
" What is that, William? " I inquired.
" How come you don't hear 'bout no nig-
ger havin' dese new f angle diseases — dis
here bell-aker an' 'penderseetis."
"Bell-aker?" I asked.
" Yes, sir, dis misery dat comes fum eatin'
corn. How come no nigger don't have It?
Dere ain't nobudy whut eats more corn bread
an' mush dan er sho' 'nuff nigger. Up home
— dat's in Greensboro — de niggers say :
" ' Down de country de nigger say he
" * Up de country de nigger say for God's
sake hush ! '
" Haf de niggers in dis country's been
William and Appendicitis 215
raised on mush, an' corn dodger, an' I ain't
never seed one die wid bell-aker."
" You mean pellagra? "
" I don't know whut you call It."
*' I dismiss the pellagra, for I don't know
anything about it, but there's nothing strange
about the negro not having appendicitis, Wil-
liam," said I. " You know what the vermi-
form appendix is, don't you? "
" No, sir, 'ceptin' dat It's somefin' dat you
gut an' don't needj an' It can't stay in yer
when it gets hot."
" You know about Darwin's theory of evo-
" No, sir, to tell you de truf, I ain't seed
Mr. Dargin in almos' er year."
" I don't mean Jim Dargin, the traveling
man, but Dr. Darwin, the great scientist, a
learned man of the last century who con-
tended that we all came from monkeys.
You have heard of that theory? "
" Yes, sir, I'se heard it said dat we come
fum monkeys, but I ain't bellevin' everything
dat I hears."
William cocked one eye up a little and
2i6 Tar Heel Tales
prepared to listen. He did not catch on to
the word *' evolution," but when I said that
Mr. Darwin was the man that believed that
a man came from a monkey he understood.
He had heard of that claim.
"You have heard that, then, William?"
" Whut, boss, dat er man come fum er
** Yes, sir, but I ain't put no faith in it."
" Well, I do, William; I believe that Dar-
win was right, and I have come to this be-
lief since I parted with my appendix."
" Don't tell me, boss ! "
" It is this way about your appendix," I
declared, " the man who is fartherest re-
moved from the monkey has the smallest
appendix and is most liable to have the ap-
pendicitis, and the closest, has the largest.
As one becomes more civilized his appendix
decreases. The doctors, on making the in-
cision in my abdomen, found that I had a
very small appendix, so small, in fact, that
it became stopped and Inflamed.
William and Appendicitis 217
" I should say that If your friend, Rastus
Johnsing, over there, were opened it would
be discovered that his vermiform appendix
is as large as my arm and as long as a rolling
pin. Your appendix, or that of any ordi-
nary, dark-hued negro, is about the size of
a common guano horn."
^ ^ " Humph ! My Gawd ! How come ? "
"How come? Because your race is not
more than 200 years from the monkey. I
, would not be surprised if your great-great
grandfather did not run wild in the forests of
Africa, living off of bugs and other insects.
You know, as I sit back there at my desk
' every day and watch you climb over this grill
and brush off the dust, I feel sorry for you.
You like to climb — so does anyone not far
from the monkey. In the course of 2,000
years the negro will begin to have appendici-
tis, long after the white people lose theirs."
" Hold on, boss ! How long did you say
it would be? "
" About 2,000 years, I should say."
" Humph! I'll be gone den. What you
say makes me feel good. I ain't haf as
2i8 Tar Heel Tales
much Interested In dc race as I Is In William
Gorrell, an' his picklnlnnies. Ef mer *pen-
dlx Is as big as er guano sack it ain't nobudy's
bizness but mine."
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